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From: padmini ranganathan (
Date: Wed Sep 29 1999 - 12:18:32 PDT

Dear devotees,

We have discussed about the excellent poetic ability
of Swami Desika. Let us just look into the first sloka

just as  an example.

As is customary, the narration of the theme is
reflected in this verse and since it is the story of
Sri Rama, it is very mAngalika also.

VamSE jAta: savitu: anaghE mAnayan mAnushatvam
dEva: SrImAn janakatanayAnvEshaNE jAgarUka:|
 PratyAyAtE pavanatanayE nischitArtha: sa kAmI
KalpAkArAm kathamapi niSAm AvibhAtam vishEhE|| 


Regarding mankind with esteem and thus born in the
human race 
in the flawless dynasty of the Sun(sUrya vamsha); 
sleepless and seeking for his beloved, the daughter of
Janaka(SitA);  the Lord(Rama, incarnation of Sriman
Narayana), impassioned & resolute,  subsequent to
learning about SItA from the son of pavana.(Hanuman);
endured that unbearable night, analogous to a Kalpa, 
(Pralaya, Kalpa also means one thousand yugas), with
extreme difficulty.


After the return of HanumAn from LankA, Rama having
learnt about DevI SitA, laments for her. Then he 
devises the future plans to bring back Sita.  For
Rama, that  night seemed to be a kalpa, a measure of
which  is equivalent to one thousand yugas, because of
separation from His beloved. 

Let us now, take a closer look at a few words :

The word "DEVA: SRIMAN" carries lot of significance. 

dEva: means NArAyaNa and SrImAn means the one who is
always associated with Shree(Lakshmi). As 
we can see from "nityayOgE matup", the matup suffix
means nityayOga or eternal association. Azhwar's 
pasurm  "ahalahillEn……" can be recalled. 
>From the usage of this word, we can know that the
separation  is only His leelai. 

Also we may  notice the very words 'dEva: SrImAn' in
the YuddhakAnDa of Ramayana also. 

"BhavAn nArAyaNO dEva; SrIman chakrAyudhO hari: "

"MANAYAN MANUSHATVAM", means considering mankind with
regards, out of saulabhya gunam. 
Thus he was born in the human race as per his promise
to the dEvAs. 

It may be recalled that Ravana propetiated Brahma and
got the boon, not to be slain by either dEvAs, 
yakshAs, rAkshasAs, gandharvAs etcect except mAnavAs,
i.e, humans.
"tEna gandharva yakshANAm dEva dAnava rakshasAm|
avadhyOsmIti vAguktA tathEtyuktam cha tanmaYA||

The Lord promised the dEvAs,
" vatsyAmi mAnushE lOkE pAlayan prthivIm imAm"

Here , the paratvam and saulabhyam  of our Lord is
reflected by the  words dEvasrImAn and mAnayan 
mAnushatvam respectively.  It is very hard to find
these two qualities at one place. For e.g. the Meru,
the Golden mountain lacks Soulabhyam even though it
has Paratvam. On the other hand, the kAshta 
lOshta, (mud, stone etc) lacks Paratvam but available
in plenty. But our Lord besides being dEvAdhidEva 
is also paramasulabhan to his devotees.

The word  ANAGHE VAMSHE, meaning, the flawless, "
saishA traiyyEva vidyA tapati  " . 
Due to the association of the dynasty with the Sun,
who is trayImaya or vEdamaya, the flawlessness and 
the greatness of the dynasty befitting the incarnation
of the Lord, is substantiated. Also, as said in the 
BAlakAnda of Ramayana, 

"AdivamSa viSudhhAnAm rAJnAM paramadharmiNAm|
IksvAku kula jAtAnAm vIrANAm satyavAdinAm||"

The kings of Iksvaku dynasty were known for their
valour and truthfulness.  This establishes the yOgyatA

of this dynasty  for the incarnation of Paramapurusha.

The word "JAATA:"  means born. The Lord who is sung by
VEdas as "ajAyamAnO bhudhA vijAytE"
has taken birth only out of His Soulabhyam & Parama
kAruNyam and not karma nimitthakam(bound to 
karma). The incarnation is one of his Leelai(Sport).

The word "Janaka tanayA" denotes Sita, the daughter of
Janaka. Here Sri Desikan choses the word 
Janaka tanayA to signify the glory of Janaka who is
quoted as "BrahmavidAm AgrEsara:" (Greatest 
among Brahmavits). He is also mentioned in the vEdas.
SIta being the daughter of such a great king is a 
true match for Rama who hails from the Surya dynasty. 

Whenever the Lord descends on earth, PirAtti who is
unseparable from the Lord also incarnates as His 
consort. This is clear from :
"rAghavatvEbhavat sItA, rukmiNI krshNa janmani|
AnyESu cha avatArESu vishNOrEshA anapAyinI||

The word "PAVANA TANAYA" refers to Hanuman. Here also
Sri dEsikan does'nt make a direct reference 
to hanuman. He choses to mention HanumAn as Pavana
tanaya (Son of vAyu) to stress that a messenger 
who is sent for AnvEshaNa or search should possess
certain qualities which HanumAn qualifies being the 
son of vAyu, for, vAyu moves very fast and also
capable of reaching any place which is not reachable
others as we can see, 
"vAyu: yaThaikO Bhuvanam pravishta: vAyu: sarvatragO

HanumAn very well imbibes these qualities from vAyu.

The word "KALPAKARAM" qualifies "NISHA" the night.
Kalpa means Pralaya. For RAma that night 
was unbearable as the Pralaya kAla because of
separation or viyOga. Kalpa also means the time
(Thousands of yugas). 
We can see from AraNya kAnDa of RamAyaNa, Rama Himself
says :

"JnAtipaksha vihInasya rAjaputrIm apashyata:||
manyE dIrghA Bhavishyanti rAtrayO mama jagrata : ||

and also from BhAgavatha "Truti yugAyatE tvAm
the agony of gOpikAs is such that even a "truti", a
second is felt like a yuga.

The prosody or Chandas of this verse is MandAkrantA
and we can see the various alankAras or figues of 
speeches like kAvyalingam, parikara, virOdHa AbHasa
….etc. here.

Now let us see at some of the qualities of this kAvya
which make it an "Utthama kAvyam" and also 
"MahA kAvya"

1. The nAyaka here is Lord Rama, hero of heroes and
Sriman nArAyaNa himself unlike the cursed 
2. Yaksha of  mEghadUta. One of the important
qualities of a kAvya is Utthama NAyakatvam  i.e
3. . the main  character of the story should be
Prasiddha (Distinguished).

The qualities of Utthama Nayaka are :

TadguNAstu mahAbhagyam AudAryam sthairya dakshatE|
Aujjvalyam DhArmikatvam cha kulInatvam cha vAgmithA||

DayAvAn AtigambhIra: vinIta: satva sAravAn|
DrDhavrata: titikshAvAn Aatma SlAghA prAn.mukha||

 Etc. etc.

Here in the words "Savitu: AnaghE vamshE jAta:" the
quality kulInatvam (Hailing from a 
Great dynasty) can be seen as mentioned in the above

The words "MAnayan MAnushatvam" reflects  the quality
vinItatvam (humbleness).

By "dEva: SrImAn" the quality "MahA bhAgyavatvam" (the
most fortunate or blessed)

The words "janakatanayA AnvEshaNE jAgarUka:" reflect
the two qualities "drDhavratatvam" 
and "dayALutvam".
i.e. firmness in religious austerity & Benevolence.

In the word "kathamapi niShAm", the quality
"titikshutvam" or Forbearance can be seen.
…Etc. etc.

2. The "Rasa" or the sentiment is very essential to a
kAvya. They constitute the very essence of poetry
as seen from "vAkyam rasAtmakam kAvyam". 

The rasa here is  "Vipralambha SrngAra rasa".

The many feelings of separated :
"drnmana: sanga sankalpA : jAgara : krSatA arati:|
hrItyAgOnmAda mUrchAntA: ityananga dasA daSa||

We can see  "jAgar:", wakefulness, arati, absence of
pleasure, "UnmAda:", Intense passion, 
"Sankalpa", determination etc., from the words
"janakatanayA AnvEShaNE jAgarUka:",
"NishchitArtha:", "kAmI" etc.,

We can also see the various "GunAs" or qualities
considered as property of both Sabda & Artha.
Some of them are "PrasAda, "MAdhurya, "SankshEpa" etc.

We can see these qualities "PrasAda"….respectively
from the clearness of style, sweetness and 
abridgment of the entire story of RamAyaNa, in a
single verse.

A kAvya devoid of "guNas", even though adorned with
good figures of speech is not to be considered as 
a good one as said "alankrtam api srAvyam na kAvyam
guNa varjitam".

With this we conclude the first slOka. There are many
more qualities about the kAvya to be discussed.  
But out of fear of elaboration, it is cut short. H.H.
Sri KrshNa Brahma Tantra parakAla swAmin has written 
more than 10-15 pages of commentary on this first

With all these, this is no doubt an Utthama kAvyam.
Sri dEsikan was held in high esteem not only by his 
followers but even by his opponents as said in case of
Lord SrI Rama, "ripO: prakhyata vIryasya"
(sung even by his enemy, RAvana). Great scholars like
Appayya dIkshita, VidyAraNya, etc. were his 
admirers. Appayya dIkshita, a staunch Advaitin &  one
of the great scholars of his time, having been 
carried away by Sri dEsikan's works, has written a
commentary on his  "YAdavAbhyudayam", another 
great kAvyam based on the story of Lord KrshNa.  He
applauds srI dEsikan saying :
"ittham vichintyA: sarvatra BhAvA: santi padE padE |
kavitArkika simhasya kAvyEshu lalitEshvapi" ||
meaning, the works of kavitArkika simha (as acclaimed
by him) are enriched with with rasa bHAva, 
lAlitya etc and these qualities can be felt in each &
every word. srI dEsikan being a SrIvaishNava 
vishistAdvaitin, was made the negotiater to adjudge
the  best argument between akshObhya tIrtha (dvaitin) 
& the great vidyAraNya (advaitin). With this we know
the recognitin of his depth of knowledge in all 
schools of  vEdanta.

With all these we can understand the greatness of our
swAmin and the title "kavitArkikasimha" really 
befits him.

Reference book on HamsasandEsha : 
The "rasAswAdinI "commentary in Sanskrit by Sri. H. H.
Sri KrisNa Brahma tantra parakAla swAmigal 
of parakAla mutt.

This is just a humble attempt by mandabudhhis.
(mandasya sAhasamidam…..) Kindly correct us where 
ever  required.

Desikar thiruvaDihalE  SaraNam
 Deep pranamams

dAsI Padmini and dAsan Venugopal.


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