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Sri Ramaashtakam by Mutthuswamy Dikshithar--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Tue Oct 15 1996 - 05:45:43 PDT

THIRD DAY OF NAVARATHRI
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Sri Venkatesa Sthotram celebrates the Archaa
murhti of the sacred seven hills as Daasarathi
through this following verse :

ABHIRAAMA GUNAAKARA DAASARATHEH 
JAGDEKHA  DHANURDHARA  DHEERAMATEH I
RAGHUNAYAKA  RAAMA  RAMESA  VIBHO 
VARADHO  BHAVA  DEVA  DHAYAAJALADEH II

Sri Venkataraman , the precious son of emperor 
Dasarathaa , the unmatched bowman wielding Kodhandam ,
the scion of the vamsam of Raghu , the Lord of the Universe ,
the ocean of mercy , the boon giver , the one who never 
changes His mind once he has offered refuge under His 
lotus feet , the consort of Maha Lakshmi is hailed here .
With the choice of the words , " Abhiraama GuNaakara "
He is recognized as the home of samastha KalyANa guNAs.
These GuNAs are not only auspicious as described in 
Sri RamaanujA's Gadhyam passage , but hey are also
of great comfort to the Prapannas . They are thus of a desired quality 
(Abhiraamam ) . They are of a hope giving nature and hence desired
by all of those , who climb those sacred hills from wherever they are .
This slokam reminds Him of His promise " Dhadhaam Yethath
Vratham Mama " and appeals to Him to fulfil that commitment . 

Sri Venkataachalapathy and  service to Him as envisaged by the 
Acharya of Ahobila Mutt in the context of his 71st birthday is 
some thing we come across once in our life time. When some one 
sits under the shade of the Lord 's comforting presence at Thiruppathi  and 
enjoys the sweet experience of the meditation of Him and his 
Abhiraama GuNaas , we are also part of that PuNyam , if our 
contributions to that Kaimkaryam gets mixed with that pilgrimage 
to those holy hills . Hence , I encourage you to contribute whatever you
can to this timely effort . The Kaimkaryam is not confied to one 
Acharya or a tradition. It is universal in scope. When I met this
Acharya in August at Kanchi , he made an observation that stuck in
my mind . He said : " Satakopan, when people contribute to the 
different Kaimkaryams , what do I do with the money that they 
entrust me ? I am not making  a diamond ring for myself. It is still
the same KaashAyam  (ochre robes ) for me . ". 

When the 44th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt completed His Kaimkaryam 
of building the southern Gopuram of Sri Ranganatha , the contributors 
were from every faith and tradition including ILaya RaajA , Kanchi 
Sankara Mata  peetathipathi , the two Andavans et al . Hence , I will 
encourage you to make a symbolic contribution to this lodge 
building effort at Thirumalai and when you visit Thiruppathi 
stay at this new building under the shade of the Sumukhan of
the seven hills .

In the spirit of  salutation to the  lotus feet of the Raghuveeran 
covered with fresh  flowers of undiiminsihing fragrance due to their 
association with the Lord's CharaNaaravindham , I will summarize the 
Krithis of Dikshithar on Sri Ramachandra. Although Dikshithar was 
" outdone " by Thyagaraja swamigaL in the krithis dedicated to 
Sri Ramachandra, there  are some jewels in the repertoire of 
Dikshithar regarding his salutations to Sri Venkataraman . 
They are set in the eight vibakthis of Sanskrit grammar . There are 
a few more also and the Rama Bhakthi of Dikshitar reaches its 
peak with the MaNirangu Krithi dedicated to sri Pattabhi Raman .

The Krithis of Dikshithar on Lord Ramachandra , the Raghuveeran are :

1. RAMA RAMAKALI KALUSHAVIRAAMA --RAGAM : RAMA KALI 
2. KSHITHIJAA RAMANM CHINTAYEH--DEVAGHAANDHAARI 
3.SRI RAMACHANDROH RAKSHATHU--SRI RANJANI
4.SRI RAMAM RAVIKULAABDHI SOMAM--NARAYANA GOWLAI
5. RAMACHANDRENA SAMRAKSHITHOHAM --MAANJI
6. RAMACHANDRAQAYA NAMASTEH RAAJIVA LOCHANAAYA--THODI
7.RAMACHANDRAADHANYAM NA JAANEHAM--DHANYAASI
8. RAMACHANDRASYA DAASOHAM --DHARMAVATHI
9. RAMEH BHARATHA PAALITHA RAAJYAM ARPAYAAMI--JYOTHISVARUPINI
10. RAMACHNADRAM BHAVAYAAMI RAGHUKULA TILAKM
UPENDRAM ---VASANTHA .
11. MAAMAVA PATTABHI RAMA --MANIRANGU 

KRITHIS 3,4,5,6, 7,8 ,9 AND 10 ARE GENERALLY CONSIDERED 
AS THE RAMAASHTAKA KRITHIS SET IN DIFFERENT VIBAKTHIS.
THERE IS A REASON FOR CHOICE OF EACH VIBAKTHI TO BRING OUT 
THE DIFFERENT ASPETS OF BHAKTHI AND PRAPATTHI OF A DEVOTEEE.

I WILL ATEMPT TO GIVE THE MEANINGS AND COMMENTS ON THESE 
PRECIOUS RAAMAASHTAKA KRITHIS OF SRI MUTTHUSWAMI DIKSHITHAR 
NEXT .

V.Sadagopan