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Reflections on Swami Desikan's sacred compositions

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Oct 04 1996 - 18:50:02 PDT

Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group :

Yesterday , I wrote about the second slokam of 
Nyasa Tilakam as a personally moving slokam of
that illustrious stotram. I will write from here on one or other
of  the moving verses of Swami Desikan from the vast ocean
(Sudha Sindhu ) of literature that  he has left  us 
as our Kula Dhanam .

Today , I will offer my salutations to a Bhu sthuthi slokam .
In the pala sruthi of this stothram , Swami Desikan has 
stated the benefits of reciting the 32 verses( count excludes the 
Phala Sruthi ) that he composed
as his tribute to Bhu Devi this way  : 

ASYEHSAANAA JAGHADHA ITHI YAA
SRUYATEH VISHNUPATNEE 
TASYAA: STOTRAM VIRACHITAMIDHAM 
VENKATESEHNA BHAKTHYAA I

SRADDHAA BHAKTHI PRACHAYA GURUNAA 
CHETASAA SAMSTHUVAANA: 
YADHYATH KAAMYAM SAPADHI LABATEH
TATRA TATRA PRATHISHTAAM II

Here he describes Bhumi Devi as" Vishnu PathnE,
Asya Jagadha: Eesaanaa " ( The Consort of Bhagavaan 
and the empress of the Universe ). He  points out that 
those , who recite this sthotram with deep faith , devotion and 
humility will attain all the fruits that he or she   desires and will 
retain  those blessings permanently . 

This slokam is special to me. It  describes Swami Desikan's 
anubhavam of the vaibhavam of  Bhumi Devi , who  is the presiding Goddess 
at Oppiliappan Koil.She is the consort of ThiruviNNagarAn .Hence this
sthuthi in general and this slokam in particular "attracts" me .

The slokam is the sixth of the Sri Bhu Sthuthi and refers to 
Her glory through Her many names by which She is revered :

SARVAM  SAHAA ITHI AVANI ITHI ACHALLA ITHI MATHA :
VISWAMBARAA ITHI VIPULAA ITHI VASUNDHARAA ITHI I
ANYAANI CHA ANYA VIMUKAANI ABHIDHAANA VRUTTHAYAA
NAAMAANI AMOONI KATHAYANTHI TAVA ANUBHAAVAM II

Anubhaavam  means glories or Vaibhavam . Swami describes 
how her glories are revealed by her many Naamaas (Names ) . 

O Bhumi Devi ! You are called Sarvam Sahaa or the one who puts up
 with the unlimited apachaaraas of your devotees. 
Porumayil Bhumaa Devi is the Tamil saying .
There is no one to excel You  in this attribute .

You are saluted as Avani to recognize your gunam of protecting
this world from all types of calamities and anguishes .

You are revered as Achalaa to denote your steadfastness in 
protecting this world and your devotees inhabiting it .

You are recognized as Viswambharaa to point out that you bear
this world . 

You are worshipped as Vipulaa since your auspicious 
attributes are limitless.

You are celebrated as Vasundharaa  since you are the 
possessor of invaluable treasures . 

You are saluted by many other appropriate and revealing names 
such as Ananthaa , Dharidhree , Pruthvee et al . All of them try to 
describe yet another of your kalyana Gunaas .None of them 
cover fully your limitless auspicious nature . Each of them however 
throw a little light on one facet of your unique Vaibhavam .

This slokam is a direct echo of the latter  portion of Bhu Sooktham ,
which is part of Taittitiya Samhita . In the section starting with 
" MEHDHINEE DEVI VASUNDHARAA SYAATH
 VASUDHAA DEVI VAASAVI " AND TO  THE END OF 
THE BHU SOOKTHAM , WE COME ACROSS THE MANY 
NAAMAMS OF BHU DEVI THAT  DESCRIBE HER VAIBHAVAM.

Swami Desikan chose a few of these Naamaas form the Bhu 
Sooktham and then decided it seems for brevity to hint at  Her 
other names to describe her Anubhaavam .Some of the other names 
included in the Vedic Text are :

MEDHINI , VASUDHAA , VAASAVI  , HIRAYAGARBHINI ,
SAMUDRAVATHI , SAAVITHRI , DHARANI ,VYAAPINI , SURASUNDARI ,
VAYUMATHI , JALASAYANI , SRIYANTHAA , MADHAVI ,MADHAVAPRIYAA,
LAKSHMI PRIYASAKHI AND ACHYUTHA VALLABHAA .

The sooktham includes Her
Gayathri mantram :

OM DHANUR DHARAAYAYAI VIDHMAHE 
SARVASIDDHYAI CHA DHEEMAHE I
TANNOH DHARAA PRACHODHAYAATH II

Bhumi Devi sametha Sri Oppiliappan Thiruvadigaleh SaraNam ,

Varadachari Sadagopan