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SrI deSika stotra-s - 18. SrI mahAvIra vaibhavam.

From: Narasimhan Krishnamachari (champakam_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sun Sep 26 1999 - 07:39:08 PDT

			SrI deSika stotra-s - 18. SrI mahAvIra vaibhavam -
Part 1.

Introduction:

This stotram is also known by the title  "raghuvIra
gadyam".  The title "mahAvIra vaibhavam" was chosen by
svAmi deSikan  himself, and incorporated in the last
Slokam "sudhiyah! etat mahAvIra vaibhavam paThata!"-
You great intelligent people, read this work titled
mahAvIra vaibhavam (and get the benefit of release
from samsAra, etc.)".  The term mahA vIra refers to
cakravartit-tiru magan Lord SrI rAma, and the title
for the stotra derives from its singing the praise of
SrI rAma.  While the composition sounds exceptionally
melodious like excellent poetry to the ears when
chanted, it is a prose composition, and the only prose
composition (gadyam style, as suggested by the
alternate title - raghuvIra gadyam) that svAmi deSikan
has composed.   SrI rAmadeSikAcArya svAmi comments
that this composition is nectar to the ears of those
who hear it, to the tongue of those who chant it, and
to those who understand its meaning.  Having had the
bhAgyam to chant the stotram a few times and hear it a
few times, aDiyEn can certainly relate to this
comment.  svAmi deSikan himself has pointed out that
the composition is a blend of very hard words and very
soft ones (kaThora sukumAra gumbha), but most
important for us is to note that the composition, like
other compositions of svAmi deSikan, conveys deep
thoughts (svAmi deSikan refers to the gambhIram or
depth of the thought conveyed in the concluding
Slokam), and will uplift those who chant it with
devotion from the ocean of samasAra (bhava bhaya
bheshajam).  In the current undertaking, we will look
briefly at some of these deep thoughts that are
communicated to us through the medium of this gadyam
by svAmi deSikan.  

In a sense, this Slokam is a samkshepa rAmAyaNam
(SrImad rAmAyaNam in a concise form), consisting of
the most important incidences from the seven kANDa-s
of SrImad vAlmIki rAmAyaNam.  From other references we
find that svAmi deSikan's outpouring in the form of
raghuvIra gadyam resulted from his anubhavam of the
beauty of the tirumeni of raghuvIran in
tiruvaindrapuram along with sItA pirATTi, lakshmaNa,
and hanumAn.  In 94 sentences, svAmi deSikan has
related all the important incidents of the whole of
SrImad rAmAyana including uttata kANDa.  

To illustrate how concise he has been, it should be
noted that he has presented the original 24,000
Sloka-s of vAlmIki rAmAyaNa in less than 100
sentences.  As an example, the 2885 Sloka-s of sundara
kANDam are summarized in one sentence - apAra pArAvAra
parikhA parivRta parapura parisRta dava dahana javana
pavanabhava kapivara parishva'nga bhAvita sarvasa
dAna! - "Oh Lord! You rewarded vAyuputra by name
hanumAn who is endowed with incomparable speed, by
giving a tight embrace to him and making  him feel
that You have given him everything You possessed, for
his accomplishment in crossing the huge ocean that
surrounded Your enemy's territory on all four sides,
and for starting forest fires all over lankA when his
tail was set afire".   Every one of the 94 sentences
emphasizes one aspect of Lord rAma's guNa or
accomplishment.

Some of the thoughts that are contained in this work
of svAmi deSikan are summarized below: 

1. avatAra rahasyam:

The introductory verse reveals one of the avatAra
rahasya-s - viz. He appears in this world to dispel
the fear in the hearts of His devotees (ASrita
santrAsa dhvAnta vidhvamsana udayah).  It was mainly
to dispel the fear in the minds of the deva-s from the
terror that rAvaNa was causing to them that Lord rAma
took His incarnation (4).  He was born as the Sun
(divAkara) that caused the lotus in the form of the
sUrya kulam  (dinakara kula kamala) to blossom.

Another aspect of His avatAra rahasyam is that He does
not give up any of His Natural guNa-s such as His
balam, Sakti, etc. during His incarnations (ajahat
svabhAvaih - SaraNAgati dIpikA - Slokam 17).  The
reference to the destruction of tATakA and her two
sons mArIcan and subAhu (line 11), ahalyA SApa
vimocanam (12), the breaking of Siva's bow (15) and
vishNu's bow with which paraSurAma challenged Him
(19), the slaying of the rAkshasa-s by name tri-Siras,
dUshaNan,  kharan etc. to protect the observances of
the sages (31, 32, 33),  are all reflections of this
aspect of His avatAra rahasyam.  The six aspects of
avatAra rahasyam are described by svAmi deSikan in SrI
SaraNAgati dIpikA which we covered earlier.

The declaration by bhagavAn in the gItA (4.8) -
"paritrANAya sAdhUnAm  vinASAya ca dushkRtAm, dharma
samsthApanArthAya sambhavAmi yuge yuge" is illustrated
over and over again by svAmi deSikan in this work on
Lord rAma.  svAmi deSikan's description of ArANya
kANDam contains several examples of these.  Protecting
the sages in daNDakA vanam (28, 30), the slaying of
virAdha (29), triSiras (31), dUshaNa (32), khara (33),
the 14,000 rAkshasa-s who accompanied the three
rAkshasa-s above (34), are all examples of His sAdhu
paritrANanam and Satru vinASanam. 

An aspect of BhagavAn's incarnations is that He
faithfully acts the role that He assumes in His
incarnation, as if to illustrate to us all how to live
the life when we are born through our karma in that
form.  SrImad rAmAyaNam is an excellent example of how
He lived the life of a true son, a true king, a true
brother, a true husband, etc.  One example of this is
when Lord rAma accepts vibhIshNa's suggestion that He
should surrender and pray to samudra rAjan to help Him
cross the Ocean with the army of monkeys etc.  He
accepts this suggestion (even though He did not have
to go through this), and lies down praying to samudra
rAjan with the intent of not getting up till he
complies.  He went through this ordeal - called
pratiSayanam in line 52 - just because, having been
born a human, He wanted to play the role. 

2. pirATTi and bhagavAn:   

The introductory verse also reminds us of the
inseparable association between pirATTi and bhagavAn -
His Glory is attributable to His association with
pirATTi (prabhAvAn sitayA devyA).  This point has been
brought out by svAmi deSikan in other places as well
e.g., in SaraNAgati dIpikA 4 - padmAkarAdupagatA
parishasvaje tvAmů.tadAprabhRti dIpasamAvabhAsam
AjAnato  marakata pratimam vapuste  |).  We also know
from our pUrvAcAryas' vyAkhyAnam of His nAma SrInivAsa
 in SrI vishNu sahasranAm stotram, that His SrI
(glory) is because SrI (mahAlakshmi) is always with
Him in His vaksha-sthalam. 

3. perumAL's guNa-s:

jaya jaya mahAvIra! (1) - Here is svAmi deSikan's
pallANDu to perumAL, similar to periAzhvAr singing
paLLANDu pallANDu pallAyirattANDu for Him.  The
question can be asked - Who are we to sing pallANDu to
perumAL.  This is a valid question if ordinary people
"wish" a long life to perumAL, but for the likes of
periAzhvAr and svAmi deSikan who are intimate and
close to emperumAn, their concern for the welfare of
His tirumeni is second nature to them.  The incident
of naDAdUr ammAL being extremely concerned about the
small stick that was in the food offered to the Lord
is a reflection of this same bhAvam of their extreme
closeness to bhagavAn.

mahA dhIra dhaureya! ( 2) - BhagavAn is the foremost
among those with dhairya.  dhairyam is the attribute
where the person's mind is never fatigued even when
there is cause for mental fatigue.

The Supreme God (3) - BhagavAn helps the deva-s or
gods time and time again when they are at the verge of
being defeated by the asura-s.  He is considered the
Supreme God by all the deva-s (nikhila nirjara
nirdhArita niravadhika mAhAtmya - 3). 

sauSIlya sAgara! (22):  When a person of very great
stature mingles with a person from a very low stratum
of social standing with no differentiation whatsoever,
this behavior is termed sausIlyam.  This is one of the
great guNa-s of bhagavAn, who treats all His devotees
as equal, and mingles with them at their level.  svAmi
deSikan refers to Lord rAma's friendship with guha,
the leader of the tribal hunters, as an example of
this guNa of His (22).  He is not only endowed with
sauSIlyam, but He is the sauSIlya sAgaram - The Ocean
of sauSIlyam (nishAda rAja sUcita sausIlya sAgara!).

ananya SAsanIya! (24) - He is above and beyond anyone
else's rule.  This is because He knows justice and
proper conduct and practices them better than anyone
else.  SrI rAmadeSikacArya svAmi gives the example
here of Lord rAma successfully countering sage
vasishTha, jAbAli, etc., when they tried to persuade
Him to go back on His word to daSaratha and return to
rAjya paripAlanam instead of going to the forest for
vana vAsam.  Because He is ananya SAsanIyan, He could
successfully overrule the likes of vasishTha.

There is another incident that svAmi deSikan refers to
in the uttara kANDa portion of SrI raghu vIra gadyam
which illustrates His extreme fair-mindedness.  rAvaNa
had defeated kubera and taken away his pushpaka
vimAnam.  vibhIshNa gave that to rAma after his being
crowned.  rAma did not keep it, but sent it back to
kubera whose property it really was.  kubera sent it
back to rAma so that it can be of service to Him. 
rAma kept it for a short time because kubera sent it
back, and then returned it again to kubera.   kubera
was wonder-struck by this act of rAma and proclaimed
this act of Lord rAma to the whole kingdom.  This is
narrated in line 85 - vara viSrANana prINita
vaiSravaNa viSrAvita yaSah prapa'nca.

Even though His avatAram took place in tretA yugam
where the level of dharma is known to be less than in
kRta yugam, He ruled such that during His rule dharma
did not deteriorate to the level of tretA yugam but 
remained at the level of kRta yugam - tretA yuga
pravartita kArtayaga vRttAnta (87).  Thereby He
demonstrated to future kings how a king should rule.

sarva loka yoga kshema! (25):  He is always looking
for ways to unite (yoga) His devotees with Him under
one pretext or another.  One of the reasons for
bhagavAn's avatAram amongst us is so that He can be
easily available to us (saulabhyam).  He declares: 
"ananyAScintayanto mAm ye janAh paryupAsate  |  teshAm
nityAbhiyuktAnAm yoga-kshemam vahAmyaham  ||" 
 
He Who makes impossible things happen: He is called
"aghaTita ghaTanA sAmarthyan".  One example of this in
the context of the current stotram is the incident
involving kAkAsuran.  BhagavAn took a small piece of
grass from His darbha Sayanam and converted it to
brahmAstram, against which no other god could venture
to come to the protection of kAkAsuran (munivara
bahumata mahAstra sAmarthya - 26).  SrI periavAccAn
piLLai comments in his vyAkhyAnam for "Alin
ilaip-perumAn" in nAcciyAr tirunmozhi (9.8), that this
is an instance of His being the aghaTita ghaTanA
sAmarthyan.  He could swallow the three worlds,
contain them in His small stomach, and then go to
sleep on a budding small leaf of the banyan tree. 

He Who can bestow anything that a devotee wishes: 
svAmi deSikan describes Him as the "Walking pArijAta
Tree - ja'ngama pArijAta (28)".  In the context of
SrImad rAmAyaNa, Lord rAma roamed the daNDakAvanam
like a pArijAta tree and ensured that the sages who
sought His protection were completely safe from the
rAkshasa-s at all times.

asahAya SUra! (35) - He is of extreme Might, Valor,
Bravery, Power, and Heroism with no other assistance
(a-sahAya).   The terms SUra and vIra are synonymous -
SUro vIraSca vikrAnto jetA jishNuSca jitvarah
(amarakoSam 2.8.76).  SUra refers to the quality of
having a desire for victory - samartho jaitrah.

anapAya sAhasa! (36) - saho-balam, tatra bhavam
sAhasam.  The meaning in the context here is that
bhagavAn is of exceptional boldness, daring and
flawless courage that He could handle any number of
rAkshasa-s single-handedly.

bhagavAn's love and attachment to His devotees -
bhakta jana dAkshiNyam (39):  dAkshiNya refers to
politeness, civility, courtesy.  JaTAyu fought
valiantly with rAvaNa when he was carrying sItA after
abducting her.  JatAyu lost his life because of this
battle.  Lord rAma performed the cremation of jaTAyu
with His own hands, a treatment that even daSaratha
could not get.  This is an indication of the love and
respect that bhagavAn has for His devotees.

He Who becomes subservient to those who surrender to
Him:  SaraNAgati paratantrIkRta svAtantRya (43) - Not
only SaraNAgati relieves us from the ocean of samsAra,
but bhagavAn Himself becomes the "servant" of the one
who surrenders to Him voluntarily.  An example of this
is that He voluntarily became the "dependent" of
sugrIva when sugrIva surrendered to Him, and subjected
Himself to sugrIva's command.  

He Who has taken a vow to protect those who have
surrendered to Him just once: "sakRt prapanna jana
samrakshaNa dIkshita! (49)" He Who has taken a vow to
protect those who have surrendered just once.  
dIkshita here refers to one who has taken the dIkshA
-vow.   If a devotee surrenders to bhagavAn even once,
it is bhagavAn's vratam to protect this devotee for
ever after that.  During vibhIshaNa SaraNAgati, Lord
rAma declares:  

	sakRdeva papannAya tavAsmIti ca yAcate        |
	abhayam sarva-bhUtebhyo dadAmyetat vratam mama  || 
(yuddha. 18.34)

	"For a prapanna who surrenders the complete
responsibility for his protection to Me, I offer
protection at all times and from all beings - This is
My vow".  

To be continued....

-dAsan kRshNamAcAryan 

  




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