You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1998

SrI deSika stotrams - 7. vairAgya pa~ncakam.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Fri May 15 1998 - 11:41:30 PDT

		SrI deSika stotra-s - 7.  VairAgya pa~ncakam.

VairAgyam is translated by SrI rAmadeSikAcAryAr svAmi as "detachment from
worldly matters".  The term pa~ncakam refers to the number 5.  The
composition has its name because it is on vairAgyam and consists of 5
Sloka-s.   We may recall that SrI dayA Satakam is a composition of 100
Sloka-s describing one guNa of the Lord, viz. dayA,  with which He is
overflowing.   VairAgya pa~ncakam is a composition on one guNa of man viz.
vairAgya, which is extremely wanting in most humans. 

In order to appreciate the significance of this composition, it is useful to
take a diversion on the history behind this work.  One of the childhood
friends of svAmi deSikan by name VidyAraNya became an influential person in
the service of the king of vijayanagaram when he grew up.  In parallel,
SvAmi deSikan grew up to relish the kainkaryam of the Lord, and was serving
his Sishya-s through religious discourses etc., but as far as the monetary
side was concerned, he was living on u~ncavr*tti.  SrI vidyAraNya very much
wanted to help svAmi deSikan by getting him to the palace so that he can
demonstrate his scholarship and skills in composing poems etc. by singing
the praise of the king, and in return be rewarded monetarily by the king.
So he sent a note to svAmi deSikan suggesting that he should visit the
king's palace.  svAmi deSikan first sent a one-Slokam response to SrI
vidyAraNya declining the offer.   The latter sent a renewed request because
of his sincere desire to help his friend.   vairAgya pa~ncakam is the
response from the AcAraya in response to this second request. 

The composition as it is presented in traditional text books consists of the
first Slokam and the second set of five Sloka-s presented together as six
Sloka-s under the tile of vairAgya pa~ncakam.

In vairAgya pa~ncakam, svAmi deSikan points out his dismay and wonder at the
action of the learned poets who praised the "kings" that ruled a tiny parcel
of land in this vast universe but felt a feeling of enormous superiority
because of this.   He is at a loss to understand those who can indulge in
the praise of these petty beings when there is the "alpa santushTan" who can
be pleased with a handful of pounded rice offered by kucela and shower on
him all that can ever be sought.  (The reference to the quote "alpa
santushTan" is from the vyAkhyAna of Sri aNNangarAcArya).  

He is unable to understand why learned people live this kind of life when
all they need is a few grains that lay spilled on the paddy fields to take
care of their hunger, a palmful of water from the public pond to quench
their thirst, and a rag lying on the roadside to serve as a loin cloth.  The
depth of his vairAgyam can be felt when he declares that no matter how high
the fire of hunger (jaTharAnalah or jaTharAgni) in his stomach burns,  he
will not resort to asking for even a shread of grass from these kings and
waste his precious skills with words which are fragrant like the jasmine
flower because they are used for praising His guNa-s.   He declares that he
has the greatest of wealths already in his possession in the form of the
charioteer of arjuna, and he bids good-bye forever to the humiliating
situation of waiting at the doorsteps of these kings for their convenience
to just have the opportunity to have a visit with them. 

If we take a moment to really think about why we want to accumulate wealth,
it is clear that it is all for just filling this stomach.  Think of what we
have to go through all our lives to painfully accumulate this wealth by
praising these so-called great people constantly all our lives till we die.
It is not as if we just accumululate this wealth once over a birelf period
of time, and then go on being happy doing other things.  No, we have to keep
on praising these people just to keep what we have accumulated, since
otherwise we will displease them and our wealth will be at risk.  Is this
worth it, svAmi deSikan rhetorically asks, when we already have at our
possession Lord kr*shNa the Eternal Wealth,  the One who showed the path of
dharma to arjuna and gave him eternal fame,  protected the people of
Ayar-pAdi with the govardhana mountain when they were exposed to hardship,
always fills those who pray to Him with joy, Indestructible, and can bestow
all that is needed.

SvAmi deSikan concludes this short work with the declaration that while he
neither has property accumulated by himself nor by his father, he has the
great wealth earned by the "grandfather" - pitA-maha (referring to brahma)
and stored on top of the hasti-giri, and so he does not need anything else
from anyone else.  Recall that Lord varadarAja is in the svayam-vyakta
kshetram of kA~nci in response to bhrahma's intense penance, which we had
reviewed as part of SrI varadarAja pa~ncAsat.  Given this Eternal wealth
sitting on top of hasti-giri, svAmi deSikan does not see the need for him to
seek the impermanent pleasures of the world.

Thus in very simple terms in a few verses, the great mahAn has explained how
simple and logical it is to renounce the worldly pleasures.  If we meditate
on these concepts even intermittently, He will bless us with His karuNa so
that we realize the enormous Wealth that is always available to us in the
form of the Lord with no effort on our part.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan