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Sri Garuda Dhandakam Translation and comments

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Nov 05 1995 - 17:48:32 PST

   In this stotram, Swami Desikan covers the FOLLOWING  topics to illustrate the
glory , power and status of Garuda as one of the foremost  Nitya Sooris  serving
Sriman Narayana in Sri Vaikuntam:	

1.Vedas praising Garuda Bhagavan.
2.Garuda"s service to Sriman Narayana as His Vehicle and Flag
3.His matrimonial status with his two wives(Rudrai and Sukeerthi)
4.His adornment of great serpents as his jewellery on his limbs
5.His heroic deed in bringing  nectar  from Indra Loka
6.His other heroic deeds in battles on behalf of his Lord
7.His splendour as the Amsa(aspect) of Para Vasudeva(i-e) his Sankarshana
swaroopam
8.His manifestion in five individual forms
9.His conferral of Vedhanta Vidya to his aspiring devotees(i-e) his status as
Acharya
10.The worship of him by learned scholars and  saints
11.His power as the Garuda Mantra Moorthy
12.His power to bless one with the 4 Purusharthas (goals ) of Life
13.His incarnation as Garuda as a result of the prayers of the Vaalakilya sages
14.His power to bless on e with the True knowledge or Brahma Vidya

It is generally believed that the recitation of this Dhandakam daily would
protect one from the harms caused by poisonous aimals such as snakes, scorpions
et al.

 Poetic Structure of this Dhandakam
-----------------------------------------------------
In sanskrit poetry , each of the 4 Paadas of a sloka can have 26 letters.If the
letters of each Paadas increase to 27,30,33,36(other multiples of 3 beyond 27),
then this slokam is recognized as a Dhandakam. The 3 lettered unit is known as a
Gana. Thus a 27 lettered Paada will have 9 Ganas.There is generally no
restriction on the length of the Paada in a Dhandakam.Swami Desikan chose Paadas
with 36 Ganas or 108=(32X4 )letters  for the four Paadas of Garuda Dhandakam.

 The poetic genius of Swami Desikan is abundantly evident in this
Composition.The Paadas of this Dhandakam parsed by its   144 Ganas make
intricate swoops in the air and make sharp turns like the high soaring Pakshi
Raja(Garuda). The grammar of the flight movement of this Dhandakam is defined by
Naganas and Raganas.At the beginning of each Paada,the first  two Ganas are made
up of Naganas and the remaining 34 are made up of Raganas. Naganas are those
Ganas ot triads of Aksharas/Syllables,which are laghu in character; Raganas are
those, where the middle Akshara is Laghu and the  remaining two are Guru. The
genius of Swami Desikan as a poet is revealed from the study of this  Dhandakam,
where he scrupulously adheres to the rules of the  Dhandakam construction ,
including the nuances of meter and Ganas constituting them.

METERS
-------------
THE FIRST SLOKA (Nama: Pannaganaddhaya) IS SET IN THE  VEDIC METER KNOWN AS
ANUSHTUB WITH 32 SYLLABLES.THE LAST SLOKA (VICHITRA SIDDHA:) IS ALSO SET IN THE
SAME METER.THE SLOKA PRIOR TO THE LAST ONE IS SET IN AARYA VRITTHAM.THE REMAINIG
SLOKA FORMS THE BODY OF THE DHANDAKAM WITH ITS FOUR PAADAS AND EACH OF THE
PAADAS CONTAINING 36 GANAS. 

                                                    
                                                 SRI GARUDA DHANDAKAM
                                                *********************************
*

                                 Srimathe Nigamantha Maha Desikaaya Nama:
                             Sriman Venkatanaatharya: kavithaarkika Kesaree I
                             Vedanthaacharya Varyome Sannidhattaam sadha Hrudhi
II

Sloka 1
-----------
                         Nama: pannaganaddhaaya vaikunta vasavardhineh I
                         Srutisindhu Sudhotpaadamandaraaya Garutmathe II

My salutations to Garuda with the  beautiful wings.His limbs are adorned by  the
mighty serpents, that  he has  conquered in battle. They  are his jewellery. He
does all the intimate kainkaryas to his Lord and is His Antharanga Daasa. Garuda
is devoted always  to the Lord and His services. He is adept like the Mandara
mountain in churning the milky ocean of Vedas and to bring out the Brahma
Vidyas. We  can get the benefits of these Brahma Vidyas by offering our worship
to him. My salutations are to him.

Dhandakam : Paada 1
--------------------------------
Garudamakhila Veda Needhadhirootam Dwishad Peetanothkantithaakunta
vaikuntapeetikrta skandhameedhe Svaneedhaa gatipreetha Rudraa  Sukeerthi
sthanaabhogakatopakuta sphuratkantakavraata veda vyataavepamaana
dwijihavaadhikalpa vishpaaryamaana spataavatikaa ratna rochischataa raaji
neerajitham kaanti kallolinee raajitam I

Garuda Bhagavan has designed  the Vedas  as his  cage and uses that cage  as his
seat. (This  suggests that the Vedas sing his praise). His Lord Sriman Narayana
is bent upon destroying the Enemies of His devotees.No one can stop Sriman
Narayana in these endeavours. When He sets about to destroy  the enemies of His
devotees, he uses the shoulders of Garuda as his transport. When Garuda
transports his Lord on His missions, his wives-Rudrai and Sukeerthi-- miss his
absence from home. When the Lord"s mission is successfully concluded, Garuda
returns to his wives and they embrace him intimately with affection . In that
ecstatic state, the hairs on the body of Garuda become  stiff like thorns.This
in turn hurts  the serpents, which are covering his body.The serpents are
overcome with fear and they raise their hoods. On those occasions, the ratnas
positioned on their hoods radiate their  brilliant  red rays. That splendorous
group of red rays appear at  that time as the mangala Aaratthi to Garuda and he
sparkles in that flood of red light.   

Dhandakam : Paada 2
***************************
Jaya Garuda Suparna Darveekaraahaara  Devaadhipaahaarahaarin diwowkaspati
Kshipta Dambholi Dhaaraa kinaakalpa Kalpaantha Vatoola Kalpodhayaanalpa
Veerayithoodhyacchamatkaara Daityaari Jaitra Dhwajaarohanirdhaaritotkarsha
Sankarshanaatman Garutmun Marutpanchakaadheesa Satyaatimurthe na Kascchit  samas
te namaste punaste nama: II  

O Garuda Bhagavan! You have been named Suparna, because of the beauty of your
wings. Serpents of immense size serve  as your food. You brought Nectar - the
food of the Devas- from Indra Loka to release your mother  from the bonds of
servitude. Indra got angry at you during  that time and threw his Vajra weapon
at you . The sharp edge of that powerful weapon caused wounds on your wings and
rest of the body . the welts  from those wounds look today as pieces of jewelery
on your body and attest to your heroic deed in defeating Indra. Your other
heroic deeds stand out like the mighty winds that sweep the universe during the
time of  the great deluge. You are  sitting on the flag of your Lord , which
denotes His victory over His enemies and from your position on the flag of your
Lord, we are able to infer  your glories. You have incarnated as Sankarshana
among the  four  Vyuha Murthys of Sriman Narayana , which are Vasudeva,
Sankarshana, Pradhumna and , Aniruddha. You have divided yourself into five
forms-- Satyar, Suparnar,Garudar, Taarkshyar  and Vihageswarar-- and matched
those five forms  with the five Vayus(Praanan,  Apaanan, Samaanan,Udaanan and
Vyaanan) and shine thereafter  as  a supreme Devan. O Lord with the most
exquisitely beautiful golden Wings! There is none , who is equal to you.I offer
my salutations to you first  and then again  repeat my  salutations.

V.Sadagopan

P.S: the remaining Paadas& the rest of the Dhandakam will be covered in the next
posting.