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Sri DhAtee Panchakam

From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Thu May 10 2001 - 07:14:47 PDT

  Srimate SrivanSatakopa SriVedanta Desika Yatindra
Maha Desikaya Nama:

                          Sri Dhatee Panchakam
Opinions may differ as to the authorship of this
stotram, but there are no two opinions about   its
beauty and devotional fervour. According to some, this
is a composition of that venerable bard and sishya
ratnam, Sri KoorattAzhvAn, while  others aver that
each of its five slokas has been contributed by one
disciple of Sri Ramanuja( Sri KoorattAzhvan, Sri
MudaliAndAn, Sri Pillan, Sri EmbAr and Sri Kidambi
AcchAn) .This stotra commemorates Sri Ramanuja’s
victory over opponents belonging to various schools of
  philosophy. The principal contribution of
Emperumanar is Darsana StthApanam- it was he who
established VisishtAdvaitA on an unshakeable pedestal,
after demolishing various unsound   and offending 
structures put up by vaidika and avaidika
philosophers: but for his Sri Bhashya, our hoary
sampradaya would have long been extinct , bulldozed
into rubble by powerful mAyAvAdis and others of  their
                    There are those who are content
with stating their views, and refrain from criticizing
others’. However, establishing one’s own   viewpoint
necessarily involves pointing out, courteously, the
lacunae in opposing views. Thus para paksha nirasanam
has been a tradition in our sampradaya, starting with
Sri Nammazhvar, who is described as “Kurugayil vandu
kozhuppadakkiya nam kulapati”. This was continued by
Sri AlavandAr in his Purusha NirNayam and
Siddhitrayam, the crowning glory being the Sri Bhashya
of Sri Ramanuja. Sri Kooratazhvan , in his Stavams and
Sri Bhattar, in his Sri Rangaraja Stavam, have
contributed their mite to this goal. And, a century
and a half later , the tradition was again  held aloft
 by Sri Desikan , with his Paramata Bhangam , Sata
DooshaNi, etc.

                       Coming back to the DhAtee
Pnchakam, the stotra depicts, with the aid of apt
similes, Sri Ramanuja’s untiring efforts in protecting
both Emperuman and his vibhooti from the onslaughts of
the uninformed and the malicious .Two of the five
slokas are devoted to extolling the virtues of  Sri
Bhashyakara’s Tridandam,  and one to his
YagyOpaveetam. The power-packed words, set to a 
lilting metre,  add to the grandeur of this stotram,
which has long been a part of  the nityAnusandAnam of 
great AchAryAs.
                Here  is the first sloka, which
mentions each opposing philosophy by name and
describes how Bhagavat Ramanuja sounded its death
 “PashaNda druma shanda dAva dahana: ChArvAka saila
  Bouddha dvAnta nirAsa vAsarapati: JainEbha
  MayAvAdi  bhujanga bhanga Garuda: traividya
  Sri RangEsa jaya dvajO vijayatE RamanujOyam muni :

« PAshanda druma shanda dAva dahana : »  The first
half of this sloka deals with so called philosophies
which do not accept the authority of the Vedas, (Veda
bAhyAs) while the rest refers to schools of thought
which accept Vedas as pramANam, but misinterpret them
in such a way as to deny their true purport (Kudrishti
PAshandAs are incurable atheists, non-believers in
God, shastras, good and bad. .Due to Kali kOlAhalA,
such blasphemists had multiplied, undermining the
faith of the righteous ,generally contributing to
religious anarchy, and established themselves as
deep-rooted trees. However, Sri Ramanuja, through his
seasoned arguments, engulfed this dense forest of
PashaNdAs as would a jungle fire, and destroyed them
without trace. The comparison here to a fire is
significant, for   it destroys completely, leaving
only ash, which cannot rejuvenate. Similarly, the
Pashandas were comprehensively vanquished by Sri
“ChArvAka saila asani:”- ChArvAkAs are those who
accept only what is perceptible to the senses. While 
vedantis accept Pratyaksham( that which can be seen,
heard, felt etc.) AnumAnam (that which can be deduced
through logical means) and Sabdam (Veda vakyas which
enlighten us on matters beyond human perception or
deduction), the Charvakas accept only Pratyaksham. For
them, shastras are old wives’ tales, and God, an
unnecessary and unseen entity, often touted as a
bogeyman to make people fall in line with one’s own
views. In a nutshell, their philosophy, such as it is,
is to “eat, drink and be merry”, as long as there is
life, for there is nothing either before or beyond. 
This is an eminently attractive school of thought,
which does not enjoin upon its followers the rigors of
religious discipline or the fear of an omnipotent God
who always watches over us, or even   the Democles’
sword of a next birth, in which our sins of this and  
previous births are revisited on us. Due to its
undemanding tenets, this philosophy had a large number
of followers, and was strong as a mountain. But even
this mountain was rent asunder by Sri Bhashyakara, who
came down heavily on it as a thunder’s electrical
charge(asani:) , destroying this philistine
-	to be continued- dasan,sadagopan.
                     Srimate Sri LakshmiNrsimha diva
paduka sevaka SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra
Maha Desikaya Nama:

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