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Date: Mon Mar 10 1997 - 11:40:57 PST

Dear Members of the Bhakti List,

In this post, which is a continuation of my last article, we shall focus 
on the Garuda Dandakam of Swami Desikan. The last post presented the special 
relationship between Swami Desikan, Garuda and Bhagavan Hayagriva.  
The power, status and glory of Garuda as the foremost among the Nitya Suris 
engaged in service of Lord Narayana is very eloquently eulogized by Swami 
Desikan in the Garuda Dandakam. The structure of the Garuda Dandakam has
special significance. I would request Sriman Sadagopan to post his insights on 
this subject at his convenience.  Further references to Garuda (Nitya Suri) 
can be found in the concluding portion of the VishNu Sooktam 
(TadvishNoh Paramam Padam Sadapashyanti Sooraya:). This is also very eloquently 
described by Ramanujacharya in the majestic Vaikunta Gadyam. Ashtakshara 
Kshetram (Tirukannapuram) and Garuda share deep connections. Srimans Sadagopan 
and Sampath Rengarajan have provided excellent accounts of this relationship 
in prior posts in this forum. They may consider re-posting their informative 
articles for the benefit of new members.
Some important aspects of Garuda Bhagavan contained in this composition are 
the following:

* Vedas eulogize Garuda Bhagavan.

*Garuda's service to Sriman Narayana as his vehicle and banner.

*His relationship with his wives Rudrai and Sukeerthi.

*Great serpents which adorn his limbs as jewellery.

*His heroic deed in bringing the nectar of immortality from Indra's kingdom.

*His other heroic deeds in battles on behalf of Lord Narayana.

* His personification of SankarshaNa among the Vyuha Murthis. In the 
Srivaishnava tradition, Lord Narayana is worshipped in five forms, i.e. Para, 
Vyuha, Vibhava, Archa and Antaryamitva. The four Vyuha Murthis are Vasudeva, 
Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarshana. Swami Desikan eulogizes Garuda as 
SankarshaNa among the Vyuha Murthis.

*Garuda confers Vedhanta Vidya to his aspiring Bhaktas. Here, the reference is 
to Garuda as an Acharya. This must be taken in the context of Garuda 
initiating Swami Desikan in the Hayagriva Mantram. 

* The worship of Garuda by learned scholars and saints.

* His power as the Garuda Mantra Moorthy. The essence of the Garuda Mantram 
can be found in the Garuda Panchasat. Since I am not knowledgable in its 
prayogam, I request Sriman Sadagopan to summarize relevant aspects of the 
Garuda Mantram from this excellent work of our Paramacharyan.

* Swami Desikan emphatically states that sincere worship of Garuda 
confers the blessings of the 4 Purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha) 
of life.

* His incarnation as Garuda as a result of the prayers of the Vaalakilya sages.
In an earlier post, I summarized the details of Garuda's birth. The reference 
here is to incident between the sages, who were carrying a log of wood for 
sage Kashyapa's sacrifice, and Indra. These sages were known as the Vaalakilya 
sages. Their curse was thea Indra would be punished for his arrogance by an 
incarnation of SankarshaNa. Accordingly, SankarshaNa incarnated as Pakshi Raja 
with the face of a bird and the body of a man. 

* Garuda has the power to bless the seeker with the true knowledge or 
Brahma Vidya.

Daily recitation of the Garuda Dhandakam protects the recantor from the 
harms caused by poisonous animals like snakes, and scorpions. Everything 
correctly stated in this post is entirely due to the grace of my Acharyan,
Srimad Andavan Swamigal of Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam. If Bhagavatas 
liked this post they may consider contributing to the cause of Srimad 
Paundarikapuram Ashramam by sending your tax exempt donations to:

Sri Ahobila Muth,
5539 Columbida Pike#808, Arlington, VA, 22204. 

Please indicate on your checks that the donation is for Srimad Paundarikapuram 

Namo Narayana,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy