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Sri Devarajaashtakam of Thirukkacchi Nambi

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Wed Feb 28 1996 - 19:35:12 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatti group:

On this birthday of Thirukkacchi Nambi, I am happy   to
write a few words on this Ashtakam, who had the extraordinary
privelege of conversing with Sri Varadaraja PerumaL of Kanchipuram.

There are two Taniyans or invocatory verses for this Ashtakam by one
Ramanusappilllai , a disciple of Pillai Lokaacchaar. He composed a 
work of ten verses  known as "Sri Kaanchi Poorna Dasakam " to pay 
his tribute to Thirukkacchi Nambi. 

First Taniyan:

SRIMATHKAANCHIMUNIM  VANDEH KAMALAPATHINANDANAM I
VARADAANGRISADHA SANGA RASAAYANA PARAAYANAM II

Here, the author says : I salute the Kaanchi Muni , who gladdened the 
heart of Varadaraja. That great Acharya was involved with uninterrupted 
service at the lotus feet of the Lord Of Kaanchi  and was engaged in 
invigorating himself with the practise of that Rasaayanam. 

The phrase "Kamalapathinandanam " has been has been alternatively interpreted
to suggest that thirukkacchi Nambi was the son of  Kamalapathi and the 
son warmed the heart of the father. Since Nambi made Varadaraja happy with 
his Fan service that resulted in the Lord breaking His Archa Samaadhi to
speak with nambi, I prefer the intrepretation of Kamalapathi as the Lord(Pathi)
of Perum Devi Thaayar (Kamalaa).

In the parlance of Ayurveda,Rasaayanam refers to a special medicinal creation
that gives the users an invigorating , disease -free life. Ramanusa PiLLai
points
out that Thirukkacchi nambi practised the Rasaayanam of devoted service to
Sri varadaraja and was specuially blessed by the Lord for that Rasaayanam
service. 

Second Taniyan:

DEVARAJA DAYAAPAATRAM SRI KANCHIPOORANM UTTAMAM I
RAMANUJA MUNERH MAANYAM VANDEHAM SAJJANAASRAYAM II

The author points out that Thirukkacchi Nambi was the object of
the limitless mercy of Devaraja (Varadaraja) PerumaL and that  
Nambi was a supreme bhakta of the Lord of Kaanchi. He says further
that Nambi was the refuge of all evolved souls and the object of
special adoration for  Yatiraja.

VERSE 1 OF ASHTAKAM :

NAMASTEH HASTISILESA SRIMAN ! AMBUJALOCHANA I
SARANAM TVAAM PRAPANNOSMI PRANATAARTHIHARAACHYUTA II

This is  a verse pregnant with meaning. Here, Nambi celebrates the five states 
of the Lord known  as : Param, Vyuham, Archa, Vibhavam and Antaryaamitvam.
When Nambi addreses the Lord as Hastisilesa , he salutes the Archa State of 
the Lord consecrated on top of the hillock known as Hastigiri.

 His salutation as Srima(U)n is  associated with the Para Vaasudeva
 state. In Vaikuntam, He isresiding with Sri Devi as Para Vaasudeva
(Vaikunteh tu pareh Lokeh Sriyaa Saardham Jagatpathi: Aasteh ) .

His next salutation , Ambujalochana refers to the beautiful Vibhava 
state of the Lord, when He walked on this earth as Rama and Krishna.
Reference to his Lotus eyes relates to his Subhaasrayam .

The fourth salutation , "Pranataartihara", is associated with the 
Ksheera Sagara Nilaya VYUHA  state. He engages in Yoganidra 
in the middle of the milky ocean and rushes to the help of his Bhaktas,
when they cry aloud for Him , during their times of distress. 

The fifth and final salutation is "Achyutha". This Sambodhanam relates to
Antharyaami state, where he is pervasively present everywhere and does not 
ever fail to give his helping hand to the Prapannas. Achyutha is the 101st 
Sahasra Naamam of Vishnu. Sanskrit etymology (Nikantu) explains the 
word Achyuta as " Aasrithaanaam chyuthi : yasmaat naasthi ithi Achyutha: "
( He NEVER  abandons His Bhaktas and because of this act of HIs, He is
celebrated as Achyutha ). In this context, Swami desikan composed a Satakam
known as Achyutha Satakam and saluted the Lord as Natha Satyan,
 Kinkara satyan to reveal his loyalty to his devotees. 

SECOND VERSE OF THE ASHTAKAM:

SAMASTHA PRAANI SANTHRAANA PRAVEENA ! KARUNOLPANA I
VILASANTHU KATAKSHAASTEH MAYYASMIN JAGATHAAM PATEH II

O Lord full of Mercy and Grace ! O Lord with the power to protect one 
and all! O Lord of the Universes! May your benovolent glances fall
on Me! May those glances shine on me ! Like Aandaal , who prayed " 
SengkaN Sirucchiriteh Emmel Vizhiyaavo" (Thiruppavai verse 22),
Nambi prays for the Lord"s most compassionate glances to fall on him.

THIRD VERSE OF THE ASHTAKAM :

Here Nambi engages in Naicchaanusandhanam or Aatma Garhanam
( Self-depreceation or recounting of one"s shortcomings) .Even  if the 
great soul did not commit any of the Apachaaras, Nambi and other 
Acharyas in this mood of Self-depreceation, they "confess " about their 
"sins" in a penetent mood. This  approach is taken to set a model for others 
to desist from committing such sins. Alavandaar states in a similar mood 
in Stotra ratna that he has transgressed the rules of Sastraas tens
of thousand times and there are not many Sins that ha has  not committed. 
Those Papa Karmas have ripened and are about to yield their fruits. At this 
juncture, I stand before YOu , my Lord  and lament about ,who is going to save
me 
from disaster. Swami desikan described himself as the emperor of all 
Aparaadhas at one place. Again, all such declarations by htese pure 
souls is to set an example for us and to help us from committing 
such apachaaraas.

The third Verse of Nambi wiht such thoughts of Naicchanusandhaanam is 
as follows:

NINDITAACHARAKARANAM  NIVRUTTHAM KRTYUKARMANA: I
PAAPEEYAMSAM AMARYAADHAM PAHI MAAM VARADA  PRABHO II

Here Nambi says: " O lord,who gives all the boons that one asks! 
I have the following atributes: (1) I engage in acts prohibited by 
Saastraas (2) I stay away from Karmas prescribed by Saastraas.
(3) I am a great sinner, who has trasgressed the boundaries of 
behavior established by scriptures and Pramaanaas. O Lord,
take pity on me and save me ."

Saastraas typically say "Idam Kuru, Idam Maa kaarshi " (Do this and 
stay away from that forever). These are known as Vidhi and Nishedam
 among Saastraas. I do not follow these rules. I am now suffering from such 
wanton behavior. You are Pranataarthihara Prabhu. Please come to the help of me,
who is crying before you and protect me . This is the prayer housed in the 
third verse.

VERSE 4 TO 8 OF THE ASHTAKAM

The verses from 4 to 8 form one thought module. These verses 
are addresses to Achyuta saluted in the first verse. They form a 
single prose order(Anvayam ) and hence the set of the 5  verses 
is known as a Kulakam. Here , Nambi pleads with Devaraja to 
protect him and hails him with sweet names such as Deva Raja 
Dayaa Sindho , Deva Deva, and Jagat Pateh . The FIVE  verses 
are as follows:

SAMSARA MARUKANTHAAREH DURVYADHI VYAGRA BHEESHANEH I
VISHAYA KSHUTHRA KULMAATYEH DRUSHAAPAADA PASAALINI II  (4 )

PUTRA TARA GRUHA KSHETRA MRUGA TRISHNAAMBHU PUSHKALEH I
KRUTYAAKRUTYA VIVEKAANTAM PARIBRAANTHAMITAS TATA: II  (5)

AJASRAM JAATATRUSHNAARTHAM AVASANNAAKAMAKSHAMAM I
KSHEENA SAKTHI BALAAROGYAM KEVALAM KLESASAMSRAYAM II (6)

SAMTAPTAM VIVIDAIR DUKKAI : DURVASAIREVAMAATIBIH : I
DEVARAJA DAYA SINDHO ! DEVA DEVA ! JAGATPATHEH ! II  (7)

TVATHEEKSHANA SUDHA SINDHU VEECHEE VIKSHEPA SEEKARAI : I
KARUNYA MAARUTHAANEETHAI : SEETHAIRBHISHICHA MAAM II   (8) 

(MEANING OF THE FIVE SLOKAS): O Ocean of Mercy ! O Devaraja !
O the origin and founding father of the Universe! In this samsaric life
 full of sorrow and fears, horrible diseases are like the roaming tigers in a 
forest; the little bushes that give way under one's feet and bury one  in the
shoals 
are the sensory temptations; desires are the dense trees of the  dark forest;
relatives
 and the personal possessions are like the mirage of desert; I roam in this
forest
 not knowing what to do and what to avoid. I do not have vivekam
 (discriminatory intellect). Incompetent me, roaming here and there, weakened by
this 
aimless wandering, I am depleted of energy, strength and health. I am full of 
debilitating anxieties. I am distressed by these  undescribable calamities . 
O Pranataartihara! O Achyuta ! Please moisten me with the cooling droplets 
from the waves of your mercy , which have been driven by  the winds of your 
matchless compassion! Please bless me and protect me! 

Thus prays Thirukkacchi Nambi and begs Devaraja PerumaL to cool him
from the scorching  Samsaric afflictions through the rejuvenating shower 
of mercy and concludes this beautiful and moving Ashtakam .

Sri PeraruLaLan , Sri Perum Devi Thayaar Thiruvadigaleh Saranam

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
Febrauary 28, 1996.  



addresses him by