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Appaya Dikshithar"s enjoyment of Sri VaradarAjan

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 06:40:02 PST

Dear members of the Bhakthi Group :

The slokam of interest to us is the 105th and final
slokam of Dikshithar"s VaradarAja Sthavam. In an earlier 
slokam , Dikshithar had saluted Sri VaradarAja as
the one who has the form of MahA Purushan celebrated 
in the four vedas ( Purusha Sooktham ) :

" ManyE mahaapurusha roopadharam bhavantham " .

In the final slokam , He concludes his eulogy by 
focusing on the sarvAnga Sowndharyam or the 
Vadivazhagu of the Lord of the Hasthigiri . 

The slokam with sandhis  is as follows :

maanandhabrundhalasitham sudhrusAmaseemam I
antharmama spurathu santhatamantharAthman 
ambhojalochana tava srithahasthisailam II

All the experiences that Dikshitar encountered
were explained in the previous 104 slokams. 
The integrated essence of that experience is
summarized here . 

He starts the final slokam with the saastraic
description of  the beauty of the Lord from foot to head .
Saastram states : " AapeetAn mowli paryantham 
pasyatha : PurushOtthamam" . If one does it that way 
by letting one's eyes lift from the lotus feet to the Nedumudi,
( tall crown ) Nedumaal(PerumAL) will chase away all our sins . 
Saasthram says in this context :" PathakAnyaasu nasyanthi 
kimpunasthUpapaadhakA ". This is why the Lord's 
sacred body is described as " SubhAsrayam " and 
" Divya mangaLa Vigraham " according to Late 
Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar , a great devotee of Kanchi
VaradaraajA . Dikshithar follows the Saastraic directive 
and starts with the description , " AapAdham AachikurabhAram " .

It is not forbidden however to describe the Lord's beauty starting 
from the Nedumudi and gradually descend down 
for those , who feel comfortable in such an exercise .
Swami Desikan has enjoyed the beauty of the Lord 
in both ways. For instance in Sri DevanAyaka Panchasath,
he starts from the crown and progresses towards 
the lotus feet of the Lord and down to the Paadha rENu ,
 because the Lord of Thiruvaheendrapuram
is the DevanAthan , the emperor of the DevAs . Even then,
he salutes all the limbs of the Lord  first with the salutation ,
" Prathyanga Purna sushumA subhagam "
( every limb filled with the  sweetness of its beauty ). 

The next choice of words is " Asesham angam ". 
Here Dikshithar refers to every limb of the Lord 
and its beauty ( prathyanga PurNa sushumA subhagam ).
This allusion ( Asesham angam )  refers to the earlier celebration
of the unique beauty of every limb of the Lord( slokAs 
from 17 to 104) . In the 17 th slokam , Dikshithar pointedly 
spoke about the way in which the beauty of each limb makes one 
forget about the appreciation of the captivating beauty
of the limb that was just enjoyed . Dikshithar uses an 
apt similie here by comparing the enjoyment of one limb 
as equivalent to the enjoyment of the  pleasures in this life .
He goes on to ask rhetorically , can one remember the pleasures 
enjoyed in the previous birth or attempt to guess the pleasures 
waiting in store for one in the next birth . Very much like 
Kambhan's describtion of the Anga Sowndharyam of
Sri Ramachandra ( tOL kandAr tOLE kandAr ) , Dikshitar
refers to the bewitching effect of the sowndharyam of each
limb of Sri VaradarAjA . 

In the second line of the slokam , Dikshithar describes the 
supremely joyous effect of the anubhavam of the SubhAsrayam 
of the Lord with the choice words ,"  Aanandha Brundha Lasitham ".
The darsana janitha aanandhaanubhavam  of each of the limb
of the Lord produces a flood of delectable pleasure . The effulgence
(Kaanthi ) , the softness (Maardhavam ) , fragrance (parimaLam ) 
all join together to produce that aanandha lahari and unmattham .
Swami Desikan has stated that he has given up describing
the Sowndharyam of the archAmurthy with the statement ,
" AsprushtachinthApadham Aapiroopyam ". The beauty is beyond 
one's ken is the statement of Swami Desikan and therefore any 
attempt to describe that  experience is futile . 

The next two words of the second line are : Sudrusaam aseemam .
Sudrugh is the one with beautiful eyes. Ladies are usually called
sudrugh . Even these ladies with beautiful eyes could not absorb
the limits of the beauty of each of the limbs of the Lord. That beauty
is limitless ( AseemAmaam ) . 

Sudrughs also refers to those having the blessed yoga drushTi .
In DandakAraNyam , the sages lost their hearts over the beauty 
of the Lord in the manner described by Valmiki :

" Roopa Sampannam Lakshmeem sowkumAryam suveshathAm
dadhrusu : vismihtAkArA : Ramasya Vanavaasina : ". 

Sudrughs like Thirukkacchi Nambhi ( DevarAjAshtakam ) , 
SrivatsAngamisrar and Vedantha DesikA had enjoyed and 
tried to describe the beauty of VaradarAjA before . 
Appaya Dikshithar followed their sampradhAyam 
and added to our kula dhanam on Hasthigireesan .

Sri Dikshithar's prayer is " Antharmama spurathu 
santhatham ". May the beauty of those celebrated
limbs of the Lord shine always in my mind is his 
devout prayer .

The next sloka word is  a mighty one and relates to one of
the central tenets of VisishtAdvaitham . He addresses 
VaradarajA as " Antharathman " . O soul of my soul !
O aavi of my aavi ! Like soul for my body , You are the 
antharAthman present as the soul for my soul ! 
In addition to the existence of You inside me as
antharAthman as svaroopa siddham , I also want 
to experience you as ArchA murthy in your divya mangaLa
vigraham . Sri Dikshithar is  one of the greatest Adhvaita
AchAryAs and yet  he was comfortable linking with 
the central doctrine of VisishtAdhvaitam ( Sarira-Saareeri tathvam ) . 
Another great Advaitha Acharya , Madhusoodhana Sarasvathi 
has a similar experience , when he meditated on the suguNa
Brahmam , Lord KrishNA and cried out :

" asmaakanthu tadEva lochana chamathkArAya bhooyAth chiram
kALintheeshu yadh KIMAPI tanneelam mahO Dhavathi "

Here Madhusoodhana Saraswathi offers his salutation to the 
blue jyothi running on the sand banks of YamunA river . Similarly ,
Sri Dikshithar was overcome by the joy of experiencing the blue beauty 
of Lord VaradarAjA and prayed to Him as his antharAthman .

The remaining two words of this last slokam are " AmbhOja Lochana "
and " Sritha hasthisailam " . Dikshithar addresses the Lord and 
salutes Him as the Lotus -eyed one ! He compares the beauty
of the Lord's eye to the just-blossomed lotus flower . Here the 
reference is to the grammar ( LakshaNam ) of the Lord"s eyes .
SaastrAs say , " PundarikAkshathvam PARABRAHMA LAKSHANAM " .
Dikshithar hints here that he has realized VaradarajA as Parabrahmam .

Until now , Dikshithar  used  generic terms related to Sriman NarayaNa
in describing the beauty of the Lord of Kanchi . Now , he concludes 
the slokam with the specific attribution by describing the object of 
his salutation is none other than the supreme one standing on 
the top of Hasthigiri in His Svayam vyakthaa form .

Sri Dikshithar asked for the blessings of Lord VaradarAjA in
the very first verse of his with his prayer : " ParipoorNa roopa : 
srEyas sa mEh disathu SAASVADHIKAM Mukundha : " . He 
was not asking for transient, evanescent pleasures , but 
the lasting pleasure of Moksham . 

In the next  posting , I will discuss the choice words and 
similies that Swami Deikan used to celebrate the beauty 
of Sri VaradarAjan of Kanchi .     

PerundEvi Sametha Sri VaradarAja ParabrahmaNE Nama 
Oppiliappan Koil VARADA ( RAJA )  Sadagopan