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SwAmi VEdAnta DEsika's "NaichyAnusanthAnam"- An Introduction
Date: Mon Sep 20 1999 - 15:55:46 PDT

SwAmi VEdAnta DEsika's "NaichyAnusanthAnam" and "SAtvika ThyAgam "
(As gleaned from his StOtras.) 
(Presented on the occasion of Swami Desika's  Tirunakshatram celebrations at 
Sri Ranganatha Temple, New York on 18th September 1999)
Anbil Ramaswamy
An Introduction

Our Azhwars and AchAryas have in their compositions now and then expressed 
their humility. This is known as "Naichya AnusanthAnam". They pour their 
heart out bewailing their having wasted their lives in being mean, base, vile 
and depraved, feeling destitute and forlorn, poignantly expressing their 
remorse and regret for such conduct and surrendering to the Lord with a 
prayer to save them from doom. The expression of their lowliness in spite of 
their holiness has a special significance for us. 

It must be understood that they do not deserve their description of 
themselves in this manner. As they are Nityasooris and other divine 
incarnations, we could never ever by any stretch of imagination think of 
associating them with these deficiencies.  It must be understood that they 
extrapolate all our faults and foibles on themselves to reassure sinners like 
us that even we with all our failings, can still hope for redemption, 
provided we also surrender at the feet of our Lord. And, this is the message 
they convey by such expressions.

Similarly, there have been occasions when they express how justifiably proud 
they are in having gained beatitude through the benevolence and compassion of 
their AchAryas and the lineage of Acharya Parampara headed by the Prathama 
Acharya, Sriman Narayana. This is known as "sAtvika ahamkAram". This again is 
to enable us to take heart with the confidence that we too can aspire for, 
acquire and feel justly proud of achieving this exalted status - a status not 
attainable by others.

SwAmi Desika has excelled in these as in every other field. We find him excel 
himself not only in "naichaya anusanthAnam" (expressing meekness) but also 
when he dons  "sAtvika ahankAram" (justified pride). Instances can be 
elaborated from all his other works also but we confine here with a few 
excerpts from his StOtras (but with minimal cross-references) -wherefrom we 
can draw inspiration and consolation.

We see SwAmi Desika exhibiting several moods and sentiments -
1. In expressing anguish at weaknesses and incompetence
2. In arguing like a clever barrister and pleading for mercy of the Lord. 
3. In challenging the Lord confronting him with Lord's own plighted pledges 
(Vakku moolam) leaving the Lord no choice to escape responsibility but to 
save -and
4. In pronouncing pride in having realized the grace of the Lord ALL FOR OUR 

Let us mull over the multifaceted presentations of Swami Desika. We will try 
to keep the above order but sometimes they may be overlapping (e.g.) while 
expressing his anguish, he may also plead or challenge!

MahAkavi KALidAsa is reputed to be a master in employing similes, but we find 
SwAmi Desika doing this with consummate effect. Come; let us enjoy SwAmi's 
expertise in presenting the comparisons with kaleidoscopic effect.

Anbil Ramaswamy