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Hamsasandesa

From: padmini ranganathan (pammi_r_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Sep 27 1999 - 04:43:27 PDT

SrImAn vEnkata nAthArya: kavitArkika kEsarI
VEdAntAchAryavaryOmE sannidhattAm sadAhrdi

It is a well known fact that Swami Desikan was a
master of all vidyAs. Enough has been known about his
philosophical works. Let us now have a glimpse of one
of his works which is embedded with great poetry. He
was an AchArya, a philosopher, a saint, a poet , a
sculptor,etc etc…. with extraordinary skills.  Sri
Desika was not just a mere poet and philosopher, but
regarded as a lion among poets (kavikEsarI)and
logicians (tArkika kEsarI)by those who have felt the
heat of his genius. He every bit deserves the title
"sarvatantrasvatantra".

We will have a glimpse of his kAvya HamsasandEs~a.
HamsasandEs~a is one of the kAvyAs of swami Desika
which establishes his undisputed mastery in poetry . 
This is based on the story of RamAyana  and also an
excellent imagination of Sri Desika which is
unparalled.The style of this kavya is similar to that
of 'mEghadUtam' of KALidAsa, as Desika was an admirer
of KALidAsa. But this kavya is the conglomeration of
kavyarasa and bhaktirasa. It is a feast for poets .A
person who is a great grammarian as well as a logician
of a very high order, is very rare. But Sri Desika
possessed these qualities in abundance. The selection
of the  theme, story, characters  etc is superb. This
clearly shows that Sri Desika was also aquainted with
the  geography of different piligrim places of India.

HamsasandEsa is based on the story of RamAyaNa. Rama,
in search of SitA, sends HanumAn as His messenger to
Lanka. Hanuman returns successfully after knowing the
whereabouts of Sita. At this juncture, Swami Desika
imagines Rama to have sent another dUta, i.e.
messenger, the Rajahamsa,as a messenger to Sita. The
story of Hamsasandesa begins here.

It consists of two AshwAsAs.The firstone deals with
the narration of various holy places with their
surroundings till Lanka, which Rama directs the Hamsa
to visit on its way. 
The second one deals with  the Lankavarnanam, the
consoling message of Rama to Sita . Finally it ends
with Rama killing Ravana and returning back with Sita.

Let us have a closer look at the similarities of the
two kavyams , MeghadUtam and Hamsasandesa.

In both, the story is the same. i.e.. Sending a
message to one's beloved (in separation,
i.e.viyOga)thro a messenger. 

 The naration of the various places which the
messenger is told  to visit  on his way .

 The prosody ( the chandas) selected by both, is
"mandAkrAntA".

 We can also see a few verses which are very similar,
like ,
In megha……., "vaprakrIDA pariNata gaja prEkshaNIyam
dadars~a"
In Hamsa…….  "rAkAchandra dyutisahacharam rAjahamsam
dadars~a"

In Megha…….  "kAmArtAhi prakrti krpaNA:
chEtanAchEtanEshu"
In Hmasa………" s~ankE tIvram bhavati samayE s~Asanam
mInakEtO:"

Etc etc etc.

The selection of characters in MeghadUta are ,the
nAyaka is  a cursed yaksha and the messenger is the
cloud. Whereas Swami Desika choses Rama (the Lord
Himself )as the nAyaka , sending the message to His
beloved sita( pirAtti) and the messenger being the
Hamsa which signifies purity and  denotes our
AchAryAs, whose two wings are j~nAnam and anushTAnam.

Even though HamsasandEsa and MeghadUta are similar,
HamasasandEsa is enriched with highly philosophical
thoughts (pAramRthika) and excellent poetic fancy, etc
etc.which makes it unparalled.

This is "grAhya" to all as said by Desikan himself in
YadavAbhyudayam in the context of Sri Krishna.
"rasAyanam sarva das~AnubhAvyam". 

In a nutshell,this Kavya is  a feast for all like
Sanskrit aspirants, AlankArikAs, vEdAntins, etc etc.

Desikan thiruvaDihalE Saranam
Deep pranamams
Padmini and (my brother)Venugopal.





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