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Two Stotras Of Swami Desikan

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Nov 04 1995 - 11:23:57 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatti  Group:

          Two of the members of  our  Group asked me thru private notes to
translate Saarvabhouma Swami Desikan"s stotras on Sri Hayagreeva and Sri
Garuda(Dhandakam). They mentioned that they would like to understand the meaning
of these  two Stotras, that they are fond of reciting.I am delighted to respond
to their wishes and will  do my bes to translate them.

        As a resident of Oppiliappan Koil Sannadhi Street, I had the privelege
of being initiated into these stotras by Sri Vangipuram Navaneetham
Seshadriacharya, who was  a neighbor of mine. He was  also a great Sanskrit
scholar like his elder brother, Sri V.N.Sri Rama Desikacharya , who translated
all of the stotras of Swami Desikan, besides translating the Desika Prabhandam
and Srimad Rahasya Traya Saaram et al..They both are from a illustrious family
of Acharyas. That is my connection to the world of Swami Desikan as  a young boy
growing up next to these two giants.

    Sri V.N.Seshadriacharya has this to say about the relevance and value of
Swami Desikan"s stotras: The Stotras  of Sri Desika are unique in many
respects.They have been popular for nearly seven centuries; some of them used to
be regularly recited in temples and homes. They are the outpourings of a deeply
devoted and pious heart,inspired by the Tamil Vedas of the Alwars .Even if
judged as pure literature,their merit is by no means small. What is more few of
them are potent in alleviating the common sufferings of humanity. It is because
that some high powerful mantras ,in which Sri Desika In had,quite early in
life,became duly initiated,which he constantly recited,and which could be said
to have endowed him, atleast in part, with the remarkable mastery that he
wielded in various spheres of life(he being acclaimed by Sri Ranganayaki Thayar
as Sarvatantra Swatantra) ,have been incorporated in some of the stotras,by
reason of which they are potent as the respective mantras ,with the added
advantage that the recitation of these  stotrams may be undertaken irrespective
off caste or sex,  that no preliminary initiation from a preceptor is necessary,
and no strict choice of time or place or external purity is enjoined--- the
complete license that the 20th century man will most  appreciate! Sri Hayagriva
Stotra,Sudarsanaashtaka and Garuda Panchasat belong to this category. Sri Stuti
and Abhitistava ,whose efficacy was proved beyond doubt even in Sri Desika"s
time are known to be matchlessly potent for fulfilment of the appropriate
wishes. One could almost  assert that Sri Desika  has  composed these  works
with an overflowing mercy for us of this century, probably foreseeing that men
of this age will hardly have time for Upasana or chanting Mantras  and will lack
facilities for initiation into such techniques , but will suffer from every
stress of life ,needing consolation and divine favor at  every  moment in life.
---These  Stotras must be made "more living" in the religious -minded homes of
this country. In this regard, I have to mention that whereas some thirty years
back ,many of these stotras used to be taught to every Sri Vaishnavite from
childhood , and regular recitations, individually or in groups,used to take
place on important occasions , there recently has  been a total neglect of these
works or  an unwarranted shift of emphasis ,which is not good for children. I
wish this trend were arrested in time, We should teach Young ones atleast
minimum Sanskrit, train them to recite atleast the more important of the Stotras
,and  arrange regular  recitations at homes and temples.I can think of no
greater spiritual practise for ensuring a high level of material prosperity for
our children." Sri V.N.Seshadriacharya"s observations were made in the year 1966
at the time of publication of the "Desika Stotramala" by his illustrious elder
brother , Sri SriRamaDesikachar Swamy.

I will post the translations of Sri Hayagreeva Stotram and Sri Garuda Dhandakam
in separate postings during the next  few days.

V.Sadagopan