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Swami Desikan's Raghu Veera Gadhyam: Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Sep 10 1996 - 05:48:29 PDT

Dear Members of the Prapatthi group :

As a part of this year's celebration of Swami 
Sri Nigamantha Maha Desikan's birthday(729th),
I would like to translate his illustrious Gadhyam
and reflect upon similar tributes from great Rama 
Bhakthas that preceded him (Azhwaars, Kambar ) 
and those who followed him (Saint Thyagaraja ,
Bhadrachala Rama Das , et al ) .  

Raghu Veera Gadhyam is one of the many brilliant
and moving stotrams composed by Sri Vedantha 
Desikan , while he was residing in Thiruvahindrapuram.
At this divya desam, there are the most beautiful 
Archa murthys of Sri Ramachandra, Sita Devi, 
and Lakshmana. Swami Desikan was thrilled  one day 
by the incomparable beauty of Sri Ramachandra giving
darsanam as Kodhanda Rama at this kshetram  and
recollections about the extraordinary valour of our Lord 
and his deeds on the battle field  as the  Maha Veera at Lanka.
Inspired by those thoughts, he summarized in his splendid
Gadhyam (work in prose style ) the Vaibhavam of this Maha Veera 
and named it appropriately Maha Veera Vaibhavam . 
Later this work came to be known by its popular
name of Raghu Veera Gadhyam. 

Swami Desikan as a Sarva Tantra Svatantra might also have
followed the foot steps of his Paramacharya , Sri Ramanuja,
who composed his three master pieces in the Gadhyam form
(Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam, Saranagathi Gadhyam and Sriranga 
Gadhyam) . Swami Desikan was so fascinated by the Gadhya 
Trayas of Sri Ramanuja that he created a commentary on them 
known as Gadhya Traya Bhashya . This work fits inside another 
work of Swami Desikan known as Rahasya Raksha with four chapters. 

The first chapter of Rahasya Raksha is the commentary on 
Saranagathi Gadhyam also known as Prthugadhyam . The second chapter 
is known as Mitagadhya Bhashyam consisting of commentaries 
on both Sriranga and Vaikunta Gadhyams. The subject matter of 
Sri Ramanuja's Gadhyams were the important doctrine of 
Prapatthi and his supreme devotion to the Archa murthy 
at Srirangam worshipped by Sri Ramachandra himself
(Sriranga Gadhyam ) and the raptourous description of 
Sri Vaikuntam (Sri Vaikunta Gadhyam), the supreme abode of 
Sriman Narayana and His consort , the object of our Prapatthi . 

It is not an exaggeration to state that Swami Desikan's 
Raghu Veera Gadhyam is his OWN Prapatthi to the Lord ,
who declared at Sethu : " It is my solemn covenant that I stand by 
anyone  who surrenders his all to my keeping . According to
this Vibhishana comes under my protecting hand  , which
even Ravana is free to accept. I now charge Sugreeva to hail
Vibhishana and lead him to me".  It is no wonder that the 
entire Ramayana is revered as Saranagathi Sastra by Sri
Vaishnavas .Infact,  Sri Ramunuja himself  learned 
the special meanings of Srimad Ramayanam (Sarangathi ) 
from Srisailapurna or Thirumalai Nambi , a native of Thiruppathi .
Swami Desikan went on to describe  the mystry and sacredness
of Prapatthi in Sanskrit  and Manipravala texts such as Sarangathi
Deepikai ,Abhayapradanasara , Rahasyatayasara et al .

We are therefore fully justified in considering the delectable
Raghu Veera Gadhyam of Swami Desikan as the celebration 
of the Lord's covenant to Prapannas housed as the central 
message of the seven cantos of Srimad Ramayanam .

Swami Desikan celebrarted the veeram or Parakramam aspect
of Veeraraghavan in this Gadhyam. He went on to celebrate in
yet another stotram the valor of this RaNa Pungavan presiding
as Archa Murthy at Thriuputkuzhi with the divya namam of 
Vijaya Ragjhavan. Elsewhere , Thirumangai Azhwar has 
performed Mangalasaasanam  for Veeraraghavan , the 
Archa Murthy at Thiruvellore Divya Desam .Kulasekhara 
celebrated the valor of the Lord at Tillai Thiruchitrakootam.
Saint Thyagaraja saluted his valor at battle by describing Him 
as " Dhanda Chathuran " in his Kapi-Naarayani song " Sarasa Saama
Dhana Dhanda Chathura Saati Davamevareh ? " .The bard
asked " O Rama! You are  adept in statesmanship and in wielding 
the four expedients , conciliation(sama), winning over with
gifts (Dhana) ,separating the enemies(Bheda) and punishing by war
(DHANDA ). Who is there equal to You ?". The saint invited 
that Raghuveera affectionately again  in his Huseni krithi : " Raghuveera
RaNadheera! Raa Raa , Rajakumara !"

We will seek Swami Desikan's blessings in enjoying his 
magnificient Gadhyam on  Raghu Veeran .

Swami Desikan Thiruvadigaleh SaraNam
Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan