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KamasikhAshtakam of Swami Desikan--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sun May 05 1996 - 12:30:11 PDT

A half mile away in the South Easterly direction 
of Thuppul( the birth place of Swami Desikan ),
lies the Divya Desam of ThiruveLLukkai , where
Kama Aasikaa Narasimhan  is the presiding deity. He is 
also known as Mukunda Nayakan. 

Swami Desikan composed a beautiful Ashtakam in honor 
of this Narasimhan, who is sitting in a Yogic posture on
the southern side of Vegavathi river. This Archa Murthy has been
the object of earlier  Mangalasaasanam by Pey Azhwaar through three
pasurams of the Third Thiruvanthadhi and one pasuram line of 
Thirumangai  in his Periya Thirumadal. 

At ThiruveLLUkkai, the Moolavr sits in the middle of the  temple tank 
known as Kanaka Pushkarini .He is not easily approachable
 for worship. The Uthsavar and His Piratti (ThiruveLLUkkai Valli )
 are standing under the Kanaka Vimanam.
 The Moolavar (Kamaasikhaa Narasimhan ) is seated 
in the Yoga Pose known as Paryanga Bhandham . The Lord of
this Divya Desam got his name Kamaasikaa Narasimhan because 
he chose  the banks of Vegavathi out of his own desire/sankalpam
(Kama ) to be seated (Aasikaa) on the banks of the Vegavathi river.
The Tamil name of Thiru VelLLukkai follows this Sanskritic nomenclature.
The shorter name of VeLLukkai stands for VeL Veeru Irukkai. The word VeL
relates to the Kama or svat Sankalpam aspect of the Lord's own
desire to sit (Veeru Irukkai ) at this Divya Desam. Swami Desikan says 
that Narasimhan left Sri Vaikuntam out of His own will and chose to
sit on the sandy banks of Vegavathi at ThiruveLLUkkai Kshetram.

Swami Desikan"s eight slokams (Ashtakam )and the pala 
sruthi slokam are marvels of poetry. For these nine slokas,
Swami Desikan chose six different meters to celebrate the 
movement of Narasimha Bhagavan as he went about HIs 
Avathara Kaaryam .The six meters and the number of   slokas
associated with them are shown in Paranthesis:

1. Anushtub (Slokas 1&2 )
2.Aryaa ( Slokas 3&4 )
3.Sardhoola Vikriditham (Sloka 5 ) 
4.Prithvee (Slokas 6& 7 )
5.Oupachandasikham (Sloka 8)
6.Vasantha Tilakaa (Pala Sruthi Slokam 9) .

The essence of these Ashtakam is that Kamaasikha
Narasimhan has the following celebrated attributes:

1. He is the embodiment of the principles saluted by 
Narasimha Taapaneeya Upanishad. 

2.He has three Eyes representing Suryan, Chandran and Agni.

3.He prefers this site over his original residence, Sri Vaikuntam.

4.He is seated in the Yogic posture of Paryanga Peetam.

5.His hands are equally eager to protect devotees and to
destroy their enemies.

6.His eyes simultaneously have the attributes of being 
ferocious to Hiranyan and cool to His devotee, Prahlada.

7. He is the Sarva Rakshakan and there is nothing to
fear as long as He protects us.

Verse 1 : PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF
 THE WONDOROUS NARASIMHAN  

SRUTEENAAM UTTARAM BHAGAM
VEGAVATHYAASCCHA  DAKSHINAM I
KAAMAATH ADHIVASAN JEEYAATH
KASCCHITH ADHBHUTA kESAREE II

Here Swami Desikan describes the Bhagavaan as
"Kascchit Adhbhuta Kesari" . This incomparable form of
the Lord with a Lion's face and human body is indeed 
awesome and full of wonders. Hence it is a Adbhuta 
Kesari(Lion). It is neither Lion  nor  man. This Adhbhuta 
Kesari is celebrated in the last section of the Vedas (ie) in
the Upanishads as  suggested by Swami Desikan through
the Choice of Words , "Srutheenaam Uttaram Bhagam ".
He chose out of his own volition the site of ThiruveLLukkai and 
resides  there on the southern bank of Vegavathi river 
as indicated by the stotra Vaakyams( Kaamaath Vegavathyaa: 
Dakshinam cha Adhivasan ).Swami offers his Mangalaasaasanam 
to this Adbhuta Kesari and hails him to thrive there
(Jeeyaath)  in His supreme glory . May this Kamaasika Narasimhan known 
for his infallibility in protecting his devotees thrive  at ThiruveLLukkai is
the 
prayer of the Acharya.

VERSE 2: PRAYER FOR THE REMOVAL OF
 THE THREE KINDS OF AFFLICTIONS

TAPANA  INDU AGNI NAYANA: 
TAAPAAN APACHINOTHU NA: I
TAAPANEEYA RAHASYAANAAM 
SAARA: KAMAASIKHAA HARI: II

Swami Desikan reveals to us that Kamaasilkhaa
Narasimhan has three eyes , which are in the form 
of the Sun, Moon and  Agni. He says that the Lord 
of this Divya Desam is the essence of the secrets 
revealed by Nrusimha Taapaneeya Upanishad. 
Swami prays for the Lord to banish the three kinds of 
Taapas (afflictions) of all of us with His three eyes.
The three afflictions are Aadhyaatmikam (physical ills,
fear, anger, dsire et al), Aadhi Bhowdikham ( Ills caused by 
animals and  humans) and Aadhi Daivikam (Cold , heat ,
storms, rains et al ). 

VERSE 3 : SALUTATIONS TO KANTIRAVAN

AAKUNTAM AADHI PURUSHAM KANTIRAVAM
UPARI KUNTITHA  AARAADHITAM I 
VEGAA UPAKANTA SANGHATH 
VIMUKTHA VAIKUNTA BAHUMATHIM UPAASEH II

The Lord of ThiruveLLukkai has the face of the Lion
above his neck and the form of the ancient Purusha 
below the neck. I salute that extraordinary form of 
Kamasikhaa Narasimhan, who destroyed Hiranyan 
and chose  the region on the banks of Vegavathi for 
his permanent residence and in that process skipped
over the  established glories of Sri Vaikuntam.

VERSE 4: EULOGY TO NARASIMHAN

BHANTHUM AKILASYA JANTHOH:
BHANDHURA PARYANKA BHANDHA RAMANEEYAM I
VISHAMA VILOCHANAM EEDEH 
VEGAVATHEE PULINA KELI NARASIMHAM II

Swami Desikan praises Narasimhan of this Kshethram,
who loves to play on the sand banks of the river Vegavathi.
He recognizes the Lord as the kith and kin of all living beings.
He visualizes the Lord as sitting firmly in the Yoga Posture 
known as Parynaga Bhandham.He also pays his tribute to the 
Vishama Vilochanam of the Lord . Vishama Vilochanam can mean both 
odd numbered eyes (Three here ) and the eyes , which are distinctly 
different in their attributes ( Hot Sun , Cool Moon and resplendent Agni ).

V.Sadagopan