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The usage of Ka Varga SabdhAs by Swami Desikan in Varadaraja Sthavam

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 18:38:34 PST

Dear Devotees of Lord VaradarAjA :

I mentioned in my earlier posting that Ka sabdham is
Brahma Sabdham as per Aadhi Sankara. He  has written 
a brilliant commentary on Sri LalithA Trisathi . There are 300 nAmAs 
in  Sri Lalitha in this Trisathi . These 300 nAmAs are elaborations of  the 
15 letters of AmbhAL ' s PanchadasAkshari manthram ,
which is also known as SRI  VidyA manthram . 

The first of the 15 salutations are connected with the first 
BheejAksharam of the manthram (Viz) Ka . 
Each of the 15 aksharams of this powerful manthram has
20 salutations each and thus (15x20 ) add up to the Trisathi(300 )
count in the sthothram . Sri lalithA trisathi starts majestically with 
the words " Kakaara Roopa KalyANi -----" . The trisathi archanA 
starts with Om KakAra RoopAyai Nama : , Om KalyANyai Nama , -----

Aadhi SankarA  at the outset of his commentary  reveals that  
the Aksharam " Ka " is synonomous with Brahman .
When we deal with Kakaaram , we are dealing with 
the Infinite; therefore the Ka varga sabdhAs are used ,
when one is unable to describe adequately
the anantha KalyANa guNAs of the supreme .

In the Sri VaishNavite Tradition , one of MahA Lakshmi's naamam
is KalyANi . Her chakram ( geometrical form ) is Sri Chakram .
That is why the  Ahobila Matam coin celebrating ashta Lakshmis 
has Sri Chakram with nine interpenetrating triangles 
on one of its two sides . " Sreem  " is the BheejAksahram here . 
KamalA is another name for MahA Lakshmi.
That also starts with Ka varga sabdham . 

Let us now focus on the use of Kamapi, Kimapi , KOapi , Kim , Ka: ,
and Kaa api in VaradarAja PanchAsath of Swami Desikan 
in response to Sri Mani's query .

Prior to that , let me dwell on one or two slokaas of 
VaradarAja Panchaasath to illustrate the depth of 
involvement of Swami Desikan regarding  the indescribable 
beauty of Lord VaradarAjA . The 49 th and 50th slokams of 
this sthothram are very good illustrations of Swami Desikan's 
frame of mind as he enjoys the Lord's special beauty .

Fourty Ninth Slokam 

nirantharam nirvisathas dvadheeyam 
asprushta chinthApadhamAbhiroopyam I
satyam sapE VaaraNasaila naatha 
VaikuntavaasEpi na meh abhilAsha : II

In this verse set in UpajAthi meter , Swami addresses
the Lord of Atthigiri AruLALan and says that His sarvAnga 
sowndharyam is beyond the ken of description and that he 
is blessed to enjoy that supreme beauty without let . Swami 
Desikan states that he asserts before every one that he has 
no desire to enter Sri Vaikuntam and live there in preference 
to spending his days at VishNu Kaanchi enjoying without 
interruption the indescribable beauty of the Lord in His ArchA form .

Fiftieth Slokam 

This slokam is set in the more complex meter of MandhAkrAnthA . 

vyAtanvAnAtaruNa tuLasee dhamabhi : svAmabhikyAm 
  mAtangAdhrou marakatha ruchim pushNathee mAnasE na : I
Bhogaisvaya priyasahacharai : KAA  API Lakshmee KatAkshai :
  bhooya: syAmA bhuvanajananee DevathA sannidhatthAm II

This prayer  at the very end of the salutations to Lord VaradarAjA 
has this request to Him :" KAA API DEVATHAA NA: MAANASE
SANNIDHATTHAAM " . The prayer is to the most mysterious 
Lord VaradarAjan , whose beauty  defies all descriptions
to reside always in our heart . 

The rest of the verse tries to describe some of the wonderous 
attributes of the Lord of dark bluish hue ( neela Meghan ) . 
The expanded meaning of this portion of the slokam is as follows : 

Lord VaradarAjan has the natural hue of
blue similar to the clouds of  the rainy season . That special hue is 
enhanced multifold  by the fresh green Tulasi garlands that adorn Him . 
The glances of PerundEvi ThaayAr , which blesses one with boons
in this and the other world fall on Him . She is trying as it were to
devour that extraordinary , indescribable beauty of Her Lord.
Those glances of Hers further enhance the bluish hue of the Lord 
and that supreme  bluish effulgence spreads all over the Hasthigiri . That 
makes one wonder whether this hill is entirely made up of Maragatham
( Karu neela pacchai ) .

Swami Desikan prays for the Lord known for this extraordinary  bluish color
arising from the intensification of His own natural hue with those of the fresh 
Tulasi garlands and the auspicious glances of His consort  to reside and 
preside in our hearts always !  

First Verse :
The portion of the verse contining the word " kO api "
in the anvaya kramam is as follows : syAmaLa :--havya Vaaha: 
kO api kaaruNya raasi: na: kusalam kalayathu .

(meaning ) : May that dark-hued one appearing in the flames of
the yAgam of BrahmA looking like Agni Himself bless us with 
auspiciousness ! May that vilakshaNan ( Extraordinary one =kO api )
representing the embodiment of mercy confer on us all
blessings including Moksha Sukham ! 

Fourth Verse :
Here Swami Desikan confesses that he is a man 
of limited intellect and asks rhetorically " SthuthayE
KIM  vyAharAmi ? KATHAM  vaa ? " He asks how can I , whose 
intellectual lustre is as tiny as that of a fire fly describe your
limitless glory ? In what manner can I go about it given
my minimal capabilities ?

Fifth Verse 

The word KIM is used thrice in this slokam set in
the Vasanthatilakam meter .

macchakthi maatra gaNanE KIM IHAASTHI sakyam
sakyE na vaa tava kareesa KIMASTHI saadhyam I
yadhyasthi saadhaya mayaa tadhapi tvayaa vaa
KIM vaa bhavEth bhavathi KIMCHIDH aneehamAnE II

(meaning ) : O Lord of Atthigiri ! When I take stock of my 
entire capabilities , I recognize how precious little that I 
am capable of doing . Even if I can accomplish something
(related to eulogizing You ) , what great benefit is that to You ?
If there is any , please use me as your agent and have it
accomplished . Even that would  have been realized by 
your power . What can one hope to accomplish , when you 
have no desire to fulfill  that effort ( with your blesings ) ?

Verse 14: Here Swami Desikan recognizes the Lord of Hasthigiri 
as the creator , protector and nourisher of the dEvAs and the vEdAs .
Overwhelmed by the countless ways in which the Lord 
serves and functions , Swami  gives up the counting 
and ends this slokam with a wonderous question : 
KIM NAAMA NA ASI ? He asks the Lord the question ,
what is that Thou art not ? 

Veres 21 and 22 : In these two verses , Swami asks the Lord
in a state of awe as to  how he managed to occupy the tiny 
space in the heart cave and reside there . How come You desire
such  a cramped place ? How does Your mighty form fit in there ?
The relevant passages of the Slokams are ;
Idham susukshmam sushiram katham aadharaNa aaspadham 
jaatham ? ( verse 21 ) . Tadh adhbhutham vaarahm roopam 
katham prabhutham ? Hantha ! ( verse 22) . In the latter verse ,
Swami Desikan wonders about the mystery of the Lord holding the 
entire creation in his stomach , when he floated on the leaf of a pupil
tree during the time of MahA praLayam . The very same universe was
contained the gigantic body of the Lord , when he incarnated as
the Varaham . Swami wants to know how this mystery was accomplished .  	

Verse 34 : Here Swami Desikan compares his status to that of 
a blindman floundering around in the forest of SamsAram . Lord came 
to his help , when he was in that helpless state and took him by hand as it 
were up to that point in life. Swami pleads with  Lord VaradarAja 
for taking care of him for the remaining short time on this earth .He asks
the Lord whether that is too much of a burden for Him . The slokam
portion containing this request is : DhayALO ! sesha adhva lesa nayanE 
athibhAra: KA iva? 

Verse 37 : Here Swami asks another question . He says : O Lord !
What is the use of seeking Nitya Naimmitthika dharmams as external 
help for my protection , when your jagadh RakshaNa sankalpam is there 
as the strongest support ?  dharmAdhi baahya sahakAri GavEshaNEna 
KIM vaa? (tava ) sankalpa yeva bhavathO nipuNa: sahAya : 

48th Slokam of VaradarAja PanchAsath

I will conclude this posting on the supreme beauty of the Lord
of Hasthigiri celebrated by Swami Desikan with the recollection
of the 48th slokam of VararAja PanchAsath . Here Swami celebrates 
the MahOthsavams of the Lord , when He has distinctly different 
umbrellas , fans and dresses . He (Varadaraja) comes on bhavani 
on the back of the horse , Garudan . He is also carried in the palanquin 
or he adorns His ThirutthEr ( Car festival ) .On each of these 
occasions , His beauty is distinct , different and delectable. 
Swami Desikan states that the possession of two eyes are not
enough to enjoy the multifaceted beauty of the Lord. He therefore 
prays for the boon of many eyes to enjoy His beauty and also 
the blessings of eyes , which do not shut down even for a moment
during such enjoyment . He wishes to have eyes that do  not 
wink and lose thereby the sukham of enjoying the Lord's
sowndharyam without let .

Such is the quality of celebration of Lord VaradarAjA's beauty 
by Swami Desikan that inspired Appaya Dikshithar !

Sri PerundEvi Sametha VaradarAja ParabrhamaNE Nama :
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan