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Bhagavan Hayagriva
Date: Wed Oct 08 1997 - 12:29:34 PDT

Dear Friends,

Vijaya Dashami day is meant for offering prayers to Bhagavan  Hayagriva, 
who is the presiding deity of knowledge. Since Vijaya Dashami is a 
couple of days away, in this post I shall briefly summarize the 
important aspects of Bhagavan Hayagriva from the works of Swami Desikan 
and related references. Pranava and Udgita Vak are symbolized by 
Bhagavan Hayagriva. Lakshmi Hayagriva Bhagavan is the Aradhana Murthy of 
both Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam as well as Sri Parakala Matham. In 
this context it 
is useful to note that both Sri Ramanujacharya and Swami Desikan were 
blessed with gifts of the Aradhana Murthy of Bhagavan Hayagriva by 
Godess Saraswati and Garuda Bhagavan, respectively. The Vigraham 
presented by Garuda Bhagavan to Swami Desikan was passed on to Sri 
Brahma Tantra Svatantarar Swami, the founding father of Sri Parakala 
Matham. The second idol became the prized possession of Sri Kumara 
Varadachariar, the son of Swami Desikan, and was eventually established 
as the Aradhana Murthy of Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam. Bhagavan 
Hayagriva, who has the face of a horse and the body of a man, has been 
extolled in glowing terms by Swami Desikan in the Hayagriva Stotram. 
Vidushi Vedavalli's rendition of this stotram set to music is exquisite.

Swami Desikan was initiated into Garuda mantram by his Acharya, Sri 
AppuLLar. Sri AppuLLar belonged to the Kidambi (one of the 74 
Simhasanadipatis designated by Sri Ramanujacharya) lineage. Garuda 
Mantram was a family treasure of Sri AppuLLar. AppuLLar is the Tamil 
equivalent of Garudachar, a frequently used family name amongst Iyengars 
from Karnataka. In Tamil, PuL denotes a bird. Here, the reference is to 
the divine bird, Garuda or Pakshi Raja (the king of Birds). 
Consequently, the Garuda Mantram contains among its five syllables the 
two syllables constituted by the word  Pakshi. After instructing Swami 
Desikan on all the relevant Sri Vaishnava granthas, Rahasyas, and Sri 
Bhashya, Sri AppuLLar initiated him into the recitation of Garuda 
Mantram. H.H. Srimad Andavan Swamigal of Srimad 
Paundarikapuram Ashramam, very affectionately describes the Vaibhavam of 
Kidambi AppuLLar in his Yatiraja Sapthati Upanyasams and notes that 
Sri AppuLLar was one of the select few Shishyas in the line of Sri 
Ramanujacharya's disciples who had mastered both the Sri Bhashya and 
the Rahasyarthas. Swami Desikan had mastered the tenets of Bhagavad 
Ramanuja Siddhanta at a very young age and by the time he was twenty 
years old, he used to give discourses on Bhagavad 
Ramanuja Siddhantam. 

After his Acharya's demise, Swami Desikan settled at Thiruvaheendrapuram 
and worshipped Sri Devanayaka Perumal and Hemabjavalli Thaayar. During 
his stay there, he ascended the hill near the Lord's temple known as 
Oushadhadri and sat under an Aswatha tree and recited Garuda Mantram 
with intense concentration for a considerable time. Garuda Bhagavan was 
pleased with the 
devotion of Swami Desikan and appeared before him and blessed him. 
Garuda Bhagavan also gave an idol of Bhagavan Hayagriva in Yoga posture 
to Swami Desikan for use in his daily Aaraadhanam. Garuda also initiated 
Swami Desikan into the recitation of the Sacred Hayagreeva Mantram. The 
Hayagriva Mantram contains references to PraNavam, Udgita Vak, and the 
Veda Swaroopam of Bhagavan Hayagriva. Those who meditate on Bhagavan 
Hayagriva through this mantram are blessed with unmatched scholarship 
and unmitigated eloquence of speech. 

The tremendous accomplishments of Swami Desikan are entirely due to 
the Anugraham of Sri Garuda Bhagavan, who is recognized in Sri
Vaishnava tradition as Veda Swaroopi, and Bhagavan Hayagriva. Swami 
Desikan composed the Garuda Panchasat to record his gratefulness to Sri 
Garuda Bhagavan and incorporated the Garuda Mantram in the Garuda 
Panchasat. He then recited Sri Hayagriva mantra and had the good fortune 
of seeing Sri Hayagriva and received His blessings as  well. Swami 
composed the Hayagriva Stotram and incorporated all aspects of the 
Hayagriva Mantram in this stotram. 

The avataram of Hayagriva Bhagavan took place to restore the Vedas
to Brahma. Brahma became extremely conceited about his power as the 
creator. Lord Narayana discerning this, decided to cure Brahma of his 
pride. A couple of water droplets from the lotus seat of Brahma 
incarnated as two Asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha, who stole the Vedas from 
Brahma. Unable to carry on his work of creation without the Vedas, 
Brahma appealed to Lord Narayana for help. Lord Narayana incarnated as 
Hayagriva restored the Vedas to Brahma upon killing the Asuras. 

Swami Desikan has very eloquently described the greatness of Bhagavan 
Hayagriva in the Hayagriva Stotram. Many references from the Hayagriva 
Upanishad are succinctly contained in Swami Desikan's tribute. The 
important aspects of Swami Desikan's salutation to Bhagavan Hayagriva in 
the Hayagriva Stotram are the references to Bhagavan's Mantra Maya 
Shariram, Veda Swaroopam, Pranava Swaroopam, Shuddha Satvam, and the 
Udgita Vak. 

In the opening salutation of the Hayagriva Stotram, Swami Desikan
salutes Bhagavan Hayagriva as the presiding deity of all knowledge

JnanAnanda Mayam Devam Nirmala Spatikakrutim AdAram Sarva VidyAnAm 
Hayagrivam Upasmahe.
Next, Swami Desikan refers to the neighing sounds of Bhagavan Hayagriva 
known as the "Hala Hala". The Hala Hala sound emanating from the throat 
of Bhagavan Hayagriva contains the condensed Rks of the Rg, Yajur and 
Sama Vedas. The Hala Hala sound removes all obstacles, dispels 
inauspiciousness and paves the way for realizing one's desires (Ishta 
PrApti). Swami Desikan then focusses on the Mantra Maya Shariram of 
Bhagavan Hayagriva and eulogizes the Lord as the repository of all 
Mantras. In verse 11 of the Hayagriva 
Stotram, Swami Desikan refers to the Pranava Swaroopam form of Bhagavan. 
Of particular importance is the line: 

Vishuddha Satva Tatvena Jananti Tamakshara MatrukAm TvAm. 
(The pure minded ones recognize your Shuddha satvam form). 

Contemplating on the Pranava Swaroopam of Bhagavan Hayagriva through 
this Shlokam even for a fraction of a second is sufficient to bless the 
seeker with great scholarship and unmitigated eloquence of speech. This 
aspect of Bhagavan Hayagriva is stated in the 15th verse. 

In the 32nd Shlokam, Swami Desikan in sheer ecstasy asks to be blessed 
with Lalamrutam. Bhagavan Hayagriva, in his infinite mercy, appeared 
before Swami Desikan and drenched him with Lalamrutam (the nectar of 
Bhagavan's saliva which contains the essence of Rg, Yajus, Sama Vedas 
and Sakala Vidyas). Bhagavan Hayagriva blessed Swami Desikan with the 
assurance that He (Bhagavan) would remain at the seat of Swami Desikan's 
tongue while Swami is engaged in his work of propagating Ubhaya Vedanta 
Siddhantam. Therefore, Swami Desikan's scholarship, eloquence of speech, 
keen intellect, razor sharp memory and mastery over all skills were 

Sri Srivatsankachariar Swamigal in his Upanyasams brilliantly 
establishes connections between Lord Vamana and Bhagavan Hayagriva 
through the Hayagriva stotram salutation 
"Jihvagra Simhasana". Vamana is the presiding deity over Dadhi (yoghurt) 
used in the performance of Tirumanjanam for the Lord. Dadhi Vamana is 
saluted through the Vedic chant "DadhikraviNNO Akarushan JishNorashvasya 
Vajina: SurabinomukhAkarat. PraNa Ayogam Shitarushath". Dadhi confers 
Pushti Vardhanam(increased strength). Sri Srivatsankachariar Swamigal 
refers to this in the 
following manner:
Dadhi imparts a pleasing odor to the mouth. The inner meaning is that 
Dadhi, whose presiding deity is Vamana, fortifies the tongue to utter 
nothing but the truth and makes it a fitting royal seat (Simhasanam) for 
Bhagavan Hayagriva.   

In the final salutation of the Hayagriva Stotram, Swami Desikan has 
blessed us with the Dhyana Shlokam on Bhagavan Hayagriva:

VyakhyA MuDRaM Kharasarasijai: Pustakam Shankha Chakrai:
Bibrabinna SpatikaruchirE Pundarike NishaNNa
Amlanashree: Amruta Vishadai: Amshubi: PlAvayanmAm
AvirbhuyAth Anaga Mahima MAnase VAgadisha:

The Aradhana Murthy Bhagavan Lakshmi-Hayagriva at the Desikar Sannidhi 
of Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam depicts all aspects of the Dhyana 
Shlokam salutation. The Shuba Tanu of Bhagavan Hayagriva is a real treat 
to behold. Thayar's beauty is indescribable. During a recent visit to 
India, I was blessed with a wonderful Darshanam of this Vigraham.   

Sri Lakshmi Hayavadana Parabrahmane Namaha,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy

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