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Sri Stuthi-5

From: muralidhar rangaswamy (rangaswamy_m_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Fri Jan 23 1998 - 20:00:08 PST

Dear Friends,

In this post, I shall present a summary of verses 7 and 8 of the Sri 
Stuthi. In the seventh verse Swami Desikan pays a glowing tribute to 
Lord Narayana, which echoes hoary Vedic declarations from the Narayana 
Upanishad and also mirrors the message of Sri Ramanujacharya's 
opening salutation of the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam. Verse 8 is a 
glorification of Sri, the Ishwari as the consort of Perumal (Ishwara) 
in the above context.

7. PashyantIshu Shrutishu Parita: SUribrindEna SArdham
   MadhyEkrutya TriguNaphalakam NirmitasthAnabhEdam I
   VishvAdhIsapraNayini SadA VibhramadyUtavrttoU 
   BrahmEsAdyA Dadhati YuvayOrakshasAraprachAram II

Swami Desikan describes Bhagavan's Leelas in this verse. 
Prakriti which is a mixture of TriguNas is the game board for a 
game of dice which is witnessed by the Vedas, Nitya Suris like Ananta, 
Garuda, Vishvaksena and Muktas. Brahma, Shiva, Indra and other Devatas 
, and Baddha JivAtmas are mere pawns in this game of dice. Bhagavan is 
the prime-mover and the only player in this game which manifests 
as His Leela. Implicit herein is the fact that Sri is ever associated 
with the Lord in his Vakshasthalam and is therefore part of the 
player (Bhagavan). 

This verse resonates beautifully with Sri Ramanujacharya's opening 
salutation of the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam "SvAdeena Trivida Chetana 
Chetana SvarUpa Stithi Pravrutti BhEdam KlEsha KarmAdya Sesha 
DoshAsamsprushtam". In this salutation, Sri BhashyakArar describes 
Bhagavan as one who holds sway over the existence and activities of the 
three varieties (Baddha, Mukta and Nitya) of sentinent and insentinent 
ones and one who is unaffected by the five kinds of miseries (Kama, 
Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada) that afflicts those who are inextricably 
bound by Karma. The Lord is further glorified as ParipUrNam Bhagavantam 
(Lord who is complete in all respects) in another Ranganatha Gadyam 
salutation. In the NarayanOpanishad, the Lord is saluted as "NishkaLO 
NiranjanO NirvikalpO NirAkyatha; ShuddhO Deva EkO Narayana: Na 
DvitIyOsti Kaschit" 
 
Swami Desikan, the undisputed master over Vedam and Bhagavad Ramanuja 
Darsanam marvellously weaves in the cross thoughts in this verse. The 
Leelas of the Divya Dampatis are akin to a game of dice in which 
countless JivAtmas take part. Only the Divya Dampatis stand out amidst 
the Jivatmas as the prominent players. The Vedas and Nitya SUris like 
Ananta, Garuda and Vishvaksena are spectators in this game of dice. 
Devatas like Brahma, Shiva and Indra are the dice. Thus Swami Desikan 
establishes that the entire universe is a Leela of Lord Narayana and 
even Devatas like Brahma, Shiva and Indra are bestowed with their 
elevated status by Lord Narayana. One can also relate this tribute 
with Kulashekara Perumal's outpourings in the fourth decad of Perumal 
Tirumozhi, in praise of Lord Srinivasa. In it the Azhwar too echoes 
the same sentiments as Swami Desikan. An important aspect to be noted 
is the description of Mukta and Nitya Jivans. These are described as 
spectators to the Lord's Leelas. The inner meaning here is that Mukta 
and Nitya Jivans have surrendered (SharaNagati) to the Lotus feet of the 
Lord. Therefore, they have been conferred the previlege of being by the 
Lord's side forever and being constantly engaged in His service. The 
reference to Vedas is also significant because it points to the 
concluding salutation of the VishNu Sooktam "TadvishNOh Paramam Padagam 
SadA Pashyanti Soorayaha". 

The game of dice also has connections to the Mahabharata. Lord 
Krishna graciously agreed to serve as Arjuna's charioteer during the 
war. As soon as the Lord blessed Arjuna with his support, Balarama 
in a conversation with Krishna mentioned that: "I know you Krishna. 
Shakuni cheated the Pandavas in a game of dice using a loaded dice. 
In the war that ensues you will play a game of dice with the Kshatriyas 
of this earth as mere pawns. This time the dice is far more 
potent than the one wielded by Shakuni. The fate of Duryodhana and 
his cohorts has been sealed the very moment you agreed to support the 
Pandavas". 

8. AsyEsAnA Tvamasi Jagata; SamshrayantI Mukundam 
   LakshmI PadmA Jaladhi TanayA VishNupatnIndirEti I
   YannAmAni ShrutiparipaNAnyEvamAvartayantO 
   NAvartantE DuritapavanaprEritE Janma ChakrE II

The previous verse described the Lord's Leela as the Lord (Ishvara) 
of the universe (BrahmAndam). In this verse, Swami Desikan points out 
that since, Periya Piratti is the consort of the Lord, she is 
automatically, the Ishvari. The reference here is to the fact that 
the Lord as Mukunda is responsible for granting Moksham. His beloved 
consort, Sri, pleads with the Lord on behalf of the Baddha Jivans to 
confer upon them the boon of Moksham. Therefore, just like her husband, 
Lord Vishnu, Periya Piratti Thayar is glorified by countless
names. These names include Lakshmi, Padma, JaladhitanayA, VishNupatnI, 
and Indira. Those who glorify you have the same PramANam as the 
SahasranAmams. The names of Periya Piratti mentioned above are 
deep rooted in the Vedas. Those who engage in reciting these names 
through the Vedas are unaffected by the six evil winds (Kama, Krodha, 
Lobha, Moha, Mada and MAtsarya). They are freed from the cycles of 
birth and death. One can note the subtle connection to NammAzhwar
through the usage "evil winds". Sri Tirukuruhoor Satakopan (NammAzhwar) 
received this name since he conquered the six evil winds at birth. 
NammAzhwar's work had a profound and deep rooted impact on 
Swami Desikan. Several works of Swami Desikan contain tributes to 
NammAzhwar. The Sri Stuthi is no exception! The Vedic tributes 
referred to in this verse are the Sri Sooktam salutation "IshvarIgam 
Sarva BhootAnAm TAmihopahvayE Shriyam" and the NeeLa Sooktam 
salutation "AsyEshAna JagatO Vishnu Patni". These salutations establish 
the Ishvari and Vishnu Patni aspects of Periya Piratti Thayar. 
Therefore, the Shrutis assign equal importance to Lord Narayana and Sri. 
For example in the Purusha Sooktam, the Lord is 
referred to as HrIschatE LakshmIscha PatnyoU. The Shrutis, 
glorify her as Lakshmi whereas the PuraNas eulogize her as Padma.  

VishnupatnIm MahIm DevIm MadhavIm Madhava Priyam 
LakshmIm Priya SakhIm DevIm NamAmyachyuta VallabhAm (cf: BhU Sooktam)

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy


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