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Vairaagya Panchakam of Swami desikan: Part 2

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Mon Mar 25 1996 - 17:39:41 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatti Group:

Sri Vairaagya Panchakam is a work of
profound  philosophical  significance .
It consists of five slokaas summarizing 
Swami Desikan's renunciation of material wealth.
 In these slokaas,Venkatesa kavi
 described the deplorable 
state of praising another human being for the 
sake of improving one's financial lot. He refers
to the degradation resulting from praising rich
men and asserted that he will not stoop to 
offer his service to such people. He comments 
on the transitory nature of wealth and presses on 
the fact that the only imperishable wealth is that ,
which was handed to him by his forefathers (the 
presiding deity of Attigiri revered as Sri Varadarajan ).
He demonstrated time and again his disinterest in
the accumulation of material wealth . He helped 
the poor Brahmachari to get wealthy by appealing to 
Sri Ranganayaki  through the composition of his 
Sri Sthuti. Personally, he was not interested. On one 
occasion, some of his devoted disciples hid a few gold
coins in his Thandulum (rice) presented for the  daily
Aaradhanam of their Acharya. When Swami Desikan 
saw the golden coins in the Thandalum, he threw them
away and demonstrated his aversion for worldly wealth.
He followed the tradition of Kuratthaazhwaan , who 
threw  away the golden drinking vessel that his wife had
brought with her on the journey to Srirangam. 

***Introductory Verse  sent first to Sri Vidyaranyaa :

This was the verse that he sent as a response to 
Sri Vidyaaranya to convey the message that he will not
come to the court of the king to praise him and 
gain wealth  that  way.This is not considered as 
one of the five slokaas of the Vairaaghya Panchakam.
The individual slokas of this Panchakam including the 
Phala Sruthi are set in five different poetic meters 
known as Saardhoola Vikriditham, PrithvI , Harinee,
Vamsastham and Anushtup. 

I will use the Anvaya Kramam(prose order)
 of the verses to convey the 
meaning of these terse verses.  
This way, it will be easier to follow
 the meaning of these profound  Verses.  

***Verse  that started the  Panchakam

kshoNeekoNa sata amsa paalana kalaa 
durvaara garvaanala Kshubhayat Kshudra Narendra
Chatu rasanaa Dhanyaan na Manyaamahe . 

We will not consider those  the blessed (lucky ) ones,
those who praise with skill the deluded and arrogant 
kings that rule over a small portion of the earth and are 
overcome with a sense of power. 

DayaaLu: Ya: Asau Puraa Dhaanaa mushti mucheh 
Kusela Munayeh Vittedasathaam Dhattehsma Devam
Sevithum Nicchinumahe .

Once the great merciful Lord (Avyaja Karuna Murthy), 
gave to the poor Kusela , his boyhood friend indescribable
wealth in exchange for the handful of pounded rice given 
to Him. We are determined to serve only that Lord and
no one else. 

*** First slokam of Vairaagya Panchakam

Silam oudharam analam Bhaadhitum Analam 
Bhaveth Kim? Prasruthi poorakam Saarasam
Bhaya: Tarakam Kimu Na: ? Pathi Kaccharam 
pataccharam ayatna malamallakam vibudhaa:
Kukshita Mudhaa Kukshita: Bhajanthi hi Ahaha ! 

Swami Desikan asks a series of questions here 
regarding the minimum needed to carry on one's
life on earth . He observes that even those with 
discriminatory knowledge serve the rich to appease 
their needs. He asks : Is not the grain spilled from the 
harvests sufficient  to quell one' s hunger? Would not the 
volume of water held in one's palm sufficient to 
quench one's thirst ? Will not the rag obtained along the
wayside sufifcient to serve as an effortlessly gained 
loin cloth? Alas! the scholars offer their salutations to
the kings for the sake of filling their stomachs. 
This and other verses of the Panchakam have phrases
with double meanings . For instance , Analam can mean 
in one context, the fire in the belly known as Jaataraagni ; in 
another context, it can mean insufficient . the word Kukshitha:
seen twice  , next to each other means Stomach at one place and
kings at the other place. The skill of the poet is abundantly 
seen even while tackling a serious theme. 

***Second Verse of the Panchakam

The key message here is that " Vaachaa 
Yaachamaeh na Maheeswaraan " . We will
not beg even for a small blade of  grass from
the kings under any circumstance .

JATARA   ANALA: JALATHI KROTA KREEDATH
KRUPEETABHAVA  PRABHAA PRATIPATA 
PATU JWAALAA MAALAA AKULA: JWALATHU .

Let the Jataraagni (the fire in the belly ) burn 
sending up flames equalling that of the intense
flames of Vatavaagni that is at the center of
 the oceans ! 

VAYAM SAAYAM SAMPPULLA MALLI MADALLIKAA
PARIMALA MUCHAA VAACHAA MAHISWARAAN TRUNAMAPI 
NA yAACHAAMAEH . 

We shall not ask the great kings for even a speck of
dust to reward us with the speech resembling that of 
the fragrance of the mallika buds that has blossomed 
in the evening. 

Verse 3 of the Panchakam:

YADH ANJANA  AAPAM NIRAPAAYAM DHANAJYA
SYANDANA BHUSHANAM DHANAM MEH ASTHI
DUREESWARA DWARA BAHIR VITARKIKAA
DURAASIKAAYAI  AYAM ANJALI: RACITA: 

I have that dark hued , imperishable wealth that 
sat in front of the chariot of Arjuna and decorated 
that chariot. While I have that enduring wealth, why 
whould I sit in the outter portion of the little princelings
and wait for an opportune time to address them and 
plead for the granting of perishable  wealth from them.
I raise my hands in salutation to say No ! 

***Verse 4 of the Panchakam

APP INDHANA DHANANJAYA PRASAMADAM
DHANAM SARIRA PATANA AVATHI PRABHU
NISHEVANA  AAPADHANAATH DHANDANAM
DHANANJAYA VIVARDHANAM UTHUTA GOVARDHANAM
SUMANASAAM SAMAARADHANAM SUSAADHANAM
APAADHANAM DHANAM 

Swami Desikan uses the word Dhanam eleven times
in this verse to describe what is the Dhanam(wealth ) that 
one should seek . Rest of them are only for sorrow-causing 
purposes because of their vanishing nature according to him.
That kind of wealth is only good to quell one"s hunger
through the act of praising rich people and serving 
them until the body falls on ground. That is useless 
compared to the wealth that enhanced the fame of Arjuna in the 
battle field , lifted the Govardhana giri , makes the mind of 
good ones filled with joy, serves to yield all types of boons 
and is imperishable . That then is the  true wealth to seek.

*** Verse 5 of Panchakam

In the final verse , Swami Desikan states that he did not
accumulate much wealth in his lifetime; his father did not
leave him much of an estate. He however has a possession
 that is superior to every other kind of wealth. That is the wealth 
handed to him by his great, great, great, great grandfather, Brahmaa
revered as  Varadarajan standing vigil on the top of 
Hasthigiri. This famous verse summarizing the Vairaghyam and 
Bhakthi of Swami Desikan is as follows:

NAASTHI PITRAARJITHAM KIMCHITH
NA MAYA KIMCHITAARJITHAM 
ASTHI MEH HASTHI SAILAAGREH 
VASTHU PAITHAAMAHAM DHANAM 

Here Swami Desikan points out that the wealth that
arose from the Agni Kuntam of the Aswamedha 
sacrifice conducted by Brahma with the name of 
PeruraLaaLan is the greatest  of the wealth that he has 
acquired as eternal , everlasting family wealth .
He asks why he would go in search of any other
kind of wealth under the circumstances. This sloka alone 
would restore one's perspective as one gets befuddled 
with the chase after material wealth  in a hedonistic fashion.

Swami Desikan, Varadarajan Thiruvadigaleh Saranam,

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan