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Sri DehaLeesa Sthuti : Slokams 23-28 (--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Nov 08 1997 - 11:35:15 PST

Dear BhakthAs of Mudal AzhwArs & Sri DehaLeesan :

On this Iyppasi Avittam day , when Sri BhuthatthAzhwar
was born , It is my pleasure to conclude today 
in two parts this series of postings on 
the Lord of the DehaLi . 

On the occasion of Sri PeY AzhwAr's birth day tomorrow
in the constellation of Sathayam , I will conclude the series
on Mudal AzhwArs with comments on selected paasurams
of these three illustrious ones .

SlOkam 23:

AthmOnathim paranikarshamapeeha vAnchan
    nimnE vimOha Jaladhou nipathAmi BhUya : I
tanmAmudanjaya tavOnnatha paadha dagnam
   DehaLyadheesa guNithEna dayAguNEna II

This slOkam contains a prayer to the Lord of
ThirukkOvalUr to lift him up from the ocean of
nescience into which he has fallen . 

( Extended Meaning ) : O Lord of the DehaLI ! 
I am one , who seeks my advancement and the 
lowering of the fortune for others ( Athma unnathim
Para nikarsham iha vaanchan ) in this world of Yours . 
I am the most selfish of the lot . Therefore , I have fallen
into the deep waters of the ocean of a~jnAnam . It is
the tradition to throw a strong rope to the one , who 
has fallen into waters to lift him up . I beg You to lift
me with Yo rope known as KaruNA and bring me upto 
the level of Your uplifted foot . Your Thiruvadi has shot
beyond the andam and when You bring me there , I
would have safely crossed samsAra mandalam and 
thus will be blessed with Mukthi .

Sri D.R. Iyengar points out that this slOkam deals with 
the passages of Utthara Kr.thyAdhikAram of Sri Rahasya
Thraya Saaram . There , our compassionate AchAryA 
warns against  the pride that goes before fall on
gaining limited insights on Bhagavadh Vishayam . 

The one who has gained limited awareness of the 
greatness of Our Lord thru apprenticeship as a novice 
suddenly thinks that he is superior and looks down on
others and falls into " Padukuzhi " or camouflaged pit .
Swami describes it in RTS as " SvOthkarsha 
paranikarshangaL  aahira padukuzhi " . 

Sri  D.R . Iyengar cites other instances from Swami
Desikan's works , such as Sankalpa SuryOdhayam .
There , the characters DambhA ( Vanity ) and DarpA 
( conceit ) are presented after the PurushA ( Jeevan )
gains limited victory over the inauspicious guNAs
like Kaama ( desire ) and KrOdhA (anger ) . 

Swami Desikan's modesty , fairness and compassion
is well known . He forgave generously those , who offended
him . He has said clearly : " Naam periyOm allOm ,
nanrum theethum namakku uraippAr uLar yenru nAduvOmE "
( We do not consider ourselves great in acheivement ; We 
continually seek those , who can instruct us on 
the right and wrong ".

The recipe against " swollen head " offered by Swami
Desikan is a powerful and moving one .

SlOkam 24 :

aksheeNa kalmasha rasOpi tavAr.usamsyAth
     Lakshmee samakshamapi vi~jApayAmyabheetha: I
bhakthOpamadha rasika svayamalpabhuddhE :
    yanmanyasE mama hitham tadhupAdhadheeThA : II

( Extended Meaning ) : O Lord who enjoyed the pressure of 
being squeezed by Your devotees at the dEhaLi ! My appetite
for increasing my sins has not abated a bit. Inspite of it , I dare
to appeal to You to rescue me based on my awareness of
Your dayAsvarUpam . I am emboldened further to engage in 
this appeal , when I see the KaruNAmayi , my Mother seated 
next to You . Therefore , please come to the rescue of this one ,
who has limited awareness of what is good and what is not . 
Please consider what is good for me and bless me with that . 

In the earlier slOkams , Swami had asked for one boon or the other .
Now , Swami realizes that he is of " alpa bhuddhi " and may not
therefore be fully aware of what is of lasting goodness to him .
In recognition of his limits , Swami apologizes to the Lord 
and leaves it to the Lord to command what is the most
appropriate hitham for him in the spirit of 
the JitanthE sthOthram pasage :

kvAham athyantha dhurbhuddhi: 
kva cha aathma hitha veekshaNam I
yatthidham mama DevEsa ! 
tadh aa~jApaya  Maadhava II

(meaning ) Who am I with my profoundly 
ill-informed mind ? What would I know
of the subjects that are good for me? 
Therefore , my Lord , Please command 
for my upliftment , whatever is appropriate 
for me out of the depth of Your kindness 
and Sarva~jnathvam .

Swami Desikan chooses in this slOkam a word 
from Srimadh RaamAyaNam ( aanr.usamsyam ) .
There , Sri RamachandrA has defined for His Devi 
what is the most superior  dharmam:

Aanr.usamsyam parO dharma : " 

Sri RamA has  been saluted by our Swami as
" DharmO VigrahavAn " or the embodiment of 
DharmA in DasAvathAra sthOthram . This Dharma
svarUpan explains that aanr.samsayam
is the greatest of DharmAs. Anr.samsyam is
' the negation of wickedness or maliciousness "
in others . That arises from boundless , innate
compassion for those , who committ  offenses 
such as KaakAsurA . Once they performed saraNAgathi ,
the guNam of aanr.samsyam comes into the fore to
forgive the offenders .  Adhi Kavi Vaalmeeki lists
this redeeming quality of Sri Raama as SaraNAgatha
rakshakan on top of all His auspicious guNAs as 
PurushOtthaman . 

Swami reminds us according to Sri D.R .Iyengar the 
quotation by SithA piratti on Sri RamA's upadesam 
that Anr.samsyam is the supreme dharmam . 
When SithA piratti's statement comes to the fore ,
One can understand the fine point of Swami Desikan 
seeking protection of the Lord in front of MahA Lakshmi
( Lakshmi Samakshamapi vi~jApayAmi  ) .

In this slOkam , Swami admits that he may not know
clearly , what is good for him ( avidhitha nija yOga kshEma : ) 
and leaves it to the Lord to make the best choice for him 
in the manner suggested by  PeriyAzhwAr  and 
Thirumangai AzhwAr earlier :

ninnaruLE purindhirEnthEn ;
iniyen ThirukkurippE  ( PeriyAzhwAr )

unn manatthAl yen ninaindhirunthAi ? 
( Thirumangai ) 

Swami ceases therefore to pray for any specific boon
and leaves the choice  upto the Lord .

SlOkam 25 

manyE dayArdhra hrudhayEna mahadhanam mE
     dhattham tvyEdham anapAyam akinchanathvam I
yEna sthanmdhayamiva svahithAanabhi~jam 
     nyAsee karOshi nija paadha srOruhE maam II

( Extended Meaning ) O Lord of ThirukkOvalUr ! 
AchAryAs have pointed out that those , who have 
no other UpAyams are eligible to choose SaraNAgathi
as the UpAyam to receive MokshAnugraham . I am 
incapable of practising any other upAyam . I do not even
know and am similar to an infant that does not know 
what it has to do to nourish itself . You have blessed me
to perform my prapatthi at Your lotus feet and have 
accepted it . When I reflect on this SowbhAghyam , 
it becomes clear to me that it is Your DayA that has made 
you take pity on me , the helpless.  You decided that I
should not go after hard-to-practise upAyAs and made
me incapable of going after them and experiencing 
hardships . Thus I acquired the fitness to perform 
Prapatthi . That fitness has made me rich to possess 
the imperishable wealth of Moksham . 

Swami Desikan thanks the Lord of ThirukkOvalur 
for conferring on him the status of aakinchanathvam ,
the state of being poor and  destitute and without any
means ( upAyam ) . That in turn led to the Lord to 
Swami Desikan choosing SaraNAgathi as his means
for salvation and the Lord quickly accepting his self-surrender .

Sri D.R. Iyengar swami quotes the Daya sathaka slOka
passage to support this line of argument by Swami Desikan .
There Swami salutes the DayA Devi : " ManyE MaathA Jata iva 
suthE VatsalA " . Here Swami says : " O Daya Devi ! I think that
You are fond of us in a manner and measure in which a mother
is fond of a child of hers with weak intellect " . 

Swami Desikan's reverence to Akinchanyam as a great 
wealth to possess has been recorded in the 47th slOkam
of DevanAyaka panchAsath ( Nishkinchinathva DhaninA ) ,
where he recognizes Akinchanathvam , as a state of
wealth and as a  prerequisite to succeed in one's 
saraNAgathi . 

SlOkam 26 :

dhurvAra theevra dhuritha prathivAvadhUkai :
     oudhAryavadhbhiranagasmitha darsaneeyai : I
DehaLyadheesvara dayAbharithai: apAngai :
     vAcham vinApi vadaseeva mayi prasAdham II

Here  Swami Desikan acknowledges the side
glances of the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr as the 
powerful reason for the blessings that he earned . 

(Extended Meaning ) : O Lord ! There is no limit to 
the glories of Your katakshams . They have the power 
to destroy the MahA paapams that can not be destroyed
by anyother means . Once Your glances fall on a MahA paapi ,
all his sins are destroyed totally . They are capable of granting
any desired boons . When those glances blend with the gentle
smile on Your face , it is the most delectable experience to have .
During those occasions , the flow of Daya from You will 
become transparent .When those glances fall on me and 
I am saved , I conclude that You blessed me by mere looks 
instead of expressing yourself through Your speech .

Swami Desikan celebrates here the Lord's capacity to 
speak thru His eyes , just as NammAzhwAr experienced 
( Thoothu sey kaNNkaL kondonru pEsi ) . The glory of 
apAngam (side glances ) over the direct look of the Lord is
celebrated here for its vAthsalyam ( dayA bharithai : apAngai: )
Those mercy-laden glances are sweetened by the smitha
darsaneeyai : ( beautiful smile /punsirippu ) . The end result 
is limitless Joy . 

Swami Desikan chose another word Prathi vaavadhuthukai :
to spell out the effect of those powerful glances . VaavadhuthukA
is a lawyer . Swami suggests that the Lord's glances cleverly
argue away our sins as DayA devi does . 

Sri D.R . Swamin is eloquent about the Daya-laden 
katakshams of the Lord ( dayA bharithairApAngA : ) .
He says : " To DesikA , DayA is an aprathaksiddha -
visEshaNam of the Lord's eyes and their glances.
Innumerable indeed are the references in DesikA's 
works to the two of them ( dayA and KatAkshams )
together ..... (1) GOpAla Vimsathi : anukampAsaritham
bhujairapAngai : ( lotus floatiing in the stream of DayA
(2) Hayagreva Sthuthi : DayAtarangAnucharA : KatAkshA : 
(3) DayA sathakam : sakeem thE SrinivAsasya dhrushtim
--49 th slOkam  
(4 )tadh veekshaNai : sprusa DayE tava kELi padmai :
-- DayA sathakam : 98 th slOkam 
(5) DevanAyaka PanchAsath: adhivEla dayOttharangam 

If AzhwArs lost themselves in the beauty of the Lord's
eyes , Desika has surrendered himself to the grace of His
KatAkshA .He says : vaacham vinA vadasi ( you speak 
without words thru Your eyes ) . He saluted them elsewhere
as " anAma vAkhya Garbhai : " ( glances pregnant with
meaning ( saabhiprAyam ) . "

Swami acknowledges in Sri DehaLeesa sthuthi  that 
the Lord's faultless ( anaga apAngams)glances
have given him the anugraham without words . 
That prasAdham is identified by Sri D.R .Swami 
as the acceptance of Swami Desikan as 
the servant of the Lord .

The katakshAs of the Lord are the integrated essence of 
their  four attributes : purity , generosity ( oudhAryam ) , beauty
and grace . Such a rich and powerful glance of the Lord 
has led to the anugraham of Swami Desikan at ThirukkOvalUr .

SlOkam 27 :
ayamanavama sUkthairAdhi bhakthairyathAvath
    visadhitha nija tattvO visvamavyAdhabhavyAth I
ratha charaNa nirUta vuanjanAnAm janAnAm
    dhuritha mathana leelA dOhaLee DehaLeesa : II

This slokam is a celebration of the anugraham 
of Sri DehaLeesan for those , who have received
Pancha samskAram .

( Extended Meaning ) : The three azhwArs were blessed 
to see the Lord in the dehaLi as a result of His squeezing 
them there . That divyAnubhavam led to the advent of 
the three great andhAthis . They celebrated the Lord's  
svarUpam , thirumEni and kalyANa  guNAs .This Lord
wears the Sudarsanam and Paanchajanyam on His 
hands and sportively destroys the mahA paapams of
thos who worship Him . This He has taken as a vow .
May this magnificient Lord protect this world and its 
beings from any inauspiciousness !

The first slOkam of this sthuthi is a prayer for Swami's
personal protction by the Lord. This slokam is a prayer
for the protection of the entire world . 

The Lord's dOhaLee (sankalpam ) is to protect this
world. Swami reminds Him of that vow . May the Lord of 
DehaLee ( DehaLeesa : ) protect this world ( Visvam 
avyAth ) ! 

Pala Sruthi slOkam : 28 th slOkam 

Iyamvitha varNA varNaneeya svabhAvAth 
    vidhitha nigama seemnA VenkatEsEna geethA I
bhava maru bhuvi thrushNA lobha paryAkulAnAm 
     disathu palam abheeshTam Dehaleesa sthuthirna : II

( extended Meaning ) : This sthuthi on the Lord of Dehalee
was composed by VenkatEsa kavi , who has seen the banks 
of VedA . There is not a word in this sthuthi , which is false 
in meaning . The errors will come only when we sing about 
ordinary mortals . Where is the chance for a false note 
to be struck , when one sings about the SarvEsvaran ? 
We have a great attachment to worldly goods and pleasures .
We are misers , when it comes to parting with our wealth .
Therefore , we get stuck in this desert land . This sthOthram 
is able to bless all such people to overcome their miseries and 
receive all they desire from the lofty Trivikraman of Gopapuri 
celebrated thru these slOkAs . 

Swami Desikan points out that we are wandering aimlessly
in the desert of SamsArA and undergoing all kinds of sufferings .
We long for the blessings to end these unbearable sufferings .
Swami Desikan states that the recitation of this sthOthram
on the supreme Lord of Gopapuram will grant them the boons
to overcome their sufferings . 

Sri D.R .Swamin states that the power of this sthOthrasm 
arises from the powerful combination of three factors : 
Prabhandha VailakshaNyam , Vakthru vailakshaNyam and 
Vishaya LakshaNyam . Prabhandha vailakshaNyam arises from 
the purity and truth of all the varNAs ( aksharAs and letters)
used in this sthuthi . Vakthru and Vishaya VailakshaNyams 
relate to the qualifications of the poet and the glory His subject .
All go together to enhance the sanctity of this sthOthram . 

The divya desam is also connected with the three mudhal 
aazhwArs , who did  a great service : " poruL mihuttha
maRai viLanga bhuviyOr uyya -- vandhu udhittha " .
The three AzhwArs as aadhi bhakthAs of the Lord 
described the real nature and attributes of the Lord 
in easy to understand Tamil paasurams , which are 
the essence of the difficult-to-understand Vedic rks . 
All of these go together to enhance the power and 
greatness of DehaLeesa sthuthi .

I offer my profound salutations to Sri VedAntha 
Desika for blessing me to write about this
extraordinary sthuthi on Sri DehaLeesan .

Subhamasthu ! 

kavithArkika simhAya kalyAN aguNasAlinE I
SrimathE VenkatEsAya vEdAntha GuravE nama: II

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan