It is a great bhAgyam to write about the Divya Desam of ThirukkOvalUr and the three Thiruvanthadhis of the mudal AzhwArs that have their origin at this divya desam .
Swami Desikan and
This is where Swami Desikan composed DehaLeesa Sthuthi , a sthOthram in praise of Trivikramn , the presiding deity of this nadu naadu divya desam. He had stayed in the other Nadu naadu divya desam (Thiruvaheendrapuram) for many years. On his way to Kanchipuram to have the darsanam of his beloved VaradarAjan, he visited ThirukkOvalUr.
He was moved by the symbolism of the Lord of this divya desam carrying SankhA and ChakrA on the right and left hands respectively; normally Sriman NaarAyaNA carries Sudarsana (ChakrathAzhwAr) on his right hand and His divine conch , Paanchajanyam , on His left hand. In this sthalam , this traditional order is reversed .
Swami Desikan was inspired by the special symbolism indicated by Trivikraman ( UlagaLandhAn ) at this divya desam and celebrated it by giving us his blessed work known as Sri Saccharithra RakshA . More about this work later.
Sri DehaLeesa Sthuthi is a beautiful eulogy of Trivikraman and salutes the special experience of the three "Mudal AzhwArs" at this divya desam. It has 28 slokAs set in the Vasantha tilakA and Maalini metres . The first 26 slOkams of this sthOthram are in Vasantha TilakA metre and the last two are set in the Maalini metre.
DehaLi means a threshhold. DehaLeesa means the Lord of DehaLi or the Lord of Threshhold. DeahaLi in Tamil means the the narrow portion of the house that connects the front door to the inner chambers of the house. The names of DehaLi in Tamil are "rEzhi , idaikkazhi and Nadai". The leelAs of the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr in the DehaLi of Mrugandu Maharishi's house resulted in us being blessed with with the "advent" of the three thiruvanthAdhis associated withtb he three mudal azhwArs. Hence the exploits of Sri Dehaleesan are an appropriate subject for Swami Desikan's eulogy and our adoration of his sthOthram.
I mentioned earlier that Saccharithra RakshA was composed by Swami Desikan at this divya dEsam after the inspiring darsanam of Trivikramn (mulavar) with the divine conch on His right hand and the Sudarsanam on His left hand . This composition deals with certain religious practises of SrivaishNavAs. Swami Desikan explained to us the significance of samAsrayaNam ( taptha mudra dhAraNam ) or the wearing of the VishNu chinnams of Chakram and sankham on the upper arms of SrivaishNavAs in the first chapter of this work ; The second chapter deals with the meaning of Urdhva Pundra DhAraNam ( wearing of the 12 pundrams on one's upper torso ) . The third chapter covers Bhagavath prapatthi and BhagavAn-niveditOpayOgA. The grantham of Saccharithra RakshA explains the significance for SrivaishNavAs of following the tradition of the above sacred rites with many quotations from scriptures. Some thirty years ago, UttamUr SwamigaL has a written a 139 page commentary on this RakshAgrantham .
Divya Desam and its
This kshethram is known as ThirukkOvalUr or ThirukkOilUr or Gopapuri. BhagavAn's nAmadEyam is Trivikraman , AayAnAr , DehaLeesan and Gopanagareesan. ThAyAr's name is PoomkOval NaacchiyAr . The vimanam where Trivikramn stands facing east is known as Srikara VimAnam. The theertham of this sthalam is KrishNa theertham and fits well with one of the names of the Lord here (viz) ., AayanAr or Kovalan or the cowherd Lord . He is Prathyaksham to mahA Bali chakravarthi , Mrigandu rishi and the three mudal AazhwArs , who sang about their experience of having the darsana sowbhAgyam of the Lord and sang about it in three hundred verses in the anthAdhi fashion . This type of composition poured out of AzhwArs , when they had dhruva smrithi or uninterrupted meditation and enjoyment of the Lord . The three AzhwArs stayed for many years at this divya desam and ascended to parama padham from here.
Besides the reversed sanga -chakrams , this kshEthram is known for another uniqueness (viz) ., the existence of a shrine for DurgA Devi within the ardha mantapam of this temple. VishNu Durgai is regualrly worshipped here and protects the kshEthram from inauspicousnes of all sorts.
There are 23 specific paasurams associated with the three AzhwArs (viz)., Poygai , Bhoothm and Thrumangai. Although all the 300 verses of the three thiruvanthAdhis are about the EmperumAn of ThirukkOvalUr, the following specific ones add to the count of 23:
Poygai: Mudal ThiruvanthAdhi --77 & 86: (2)
BHootham: IrandAm ThiruvanthAdhi --70 (1)
Thirumangai: Periya Thirumozhi -- 2.4.1, 5.6.7, 6.10.5, 7.3.2, 7.10.4 and the entire decad of 2.10 (15 in all)
ThirunedumthAndakam: 6, 7, 17 (3)
Siriya Thirumadal: 39 (1)
Periya Thirumadal: 60 (1)
Swami Desikan wove into his DehaLeesa sthuthi the rich meanings of the Paasurams of the four AzhwArs.
The origin of the three
AnthAdhi Prabhandhams at ThirukkOvalUr
Among the three Mudal AzhwArs, Poygai is the first to be born. He incarnated as the amsam of Paanchajanyam in the month of Iyppasi and SravaNa nakshathram in a golden lotus in the pushkaraNi of the temple of YathOkthakAri (ThiruvehhA) at Kanchi. Since this AzhwAr appeared on the lotus flower of a poygai (tank or pushkaraNi), he is revered as Poygai AzhwAr.
BhoothathAzhwAr incarnated next as the amsam of GowmEdhaki, the mace of the Lord in Thirukkadanmallai divya desam (modern day MahA Balipuram) in a Kurukkatthi flower (Maadhavi flower). His asterism is Avittam. He considerd himself as one of the bhootham (servant) of the Lord and hence was known as BhoothatthAzhwAr.
PEy AzhwAr or the God-Intoxicated AzhwAr took his avathAram in Mylapore. He is the amsam of the sword of the Lord (nandakam). He incarnated on a red lilly that blososmed inside the well of the temple of Adhi Kesava PerumAL of Mylaopore. He was born in Iypaasi Sathaya Nakshathram. He declared his status as "pEyanAi ozhindEn yen pirAnukkE" (I have remained as the intoxicated one of my Lord's anatha kalyANa guNAs) and hence was known as pEyAzhwAr .
The three azhwArs were endowed with superlative qualities of Bhakthi and VairAgyam and wandered over the land singing the praise of Sriman NArAyaNA. One day, The Lord wanted to help the samsAris banish their false knowledge (aj~nAnam) and tApa trayams and for that purpose brought his three wandering ministrels to the asramam of His parama bhakthan, Sage MrugaNdu. The time was night and the season was that of monsoon. There was a torrential downpour. The AzhwArs sought shelter at the small dehaLi of the sage's house. The space there was just enough for one to lie down, two to sit and three to stand. Being three in number, the azhwArs stood in a huddled manner. Suddenly, they felt the pressure form some one else cramping them in their tight shelter. They did not see anyone enter thru the front door and did not see anyone passing thru the dehaLi into the inner chamber of the house. They were intrigued about the new arrival.
Poygai composed 100 verses that served to remove the external darkness (Mudal ThiruvanthAdhi) ; Bhotham composed another one hundred verses in search of the one that cramped them (second ThiruvanthAdhi) that removed the internal darkness; At the conclusion of the two hundred verses sung by the first two aazhwArs , the third AzhwAr burst into song recording what he saw when the two kinds of darknesses were dispelled . He declared that he has seen now the fourth person, who crowded them and described Him as Sriman NaarAyaNA with MahA Lakshmi on His chest and sanka-chakrams on His hands.
The God-realization of the three aazhwArs introduced a new and welcome era of worship of Sriman NaarAyaNA. Since these incidents happened in a dehaLi and the Lord was instrumental for these happenings, Swami Desikan gave Him the name of DehaLeesan. He also took the cue from Thirumangai, who had saluted AayanAr of this KshEthram as " MathiL koval idai kazhi aayan " earlier. Swami Desiakn went on to salute Lord DehaLeesan through 28 bhakthi-laden slOkams that makes abundant references to the three anthAdhis of the Mudal AzhwArs.
Before we dwell deep into the Slokams of DehaLeesa Sthuthi, it is appropriate to focus on the ancient salutations to this particular avathAram of our Lord in an exclusive fashon. This avathAram is highly suggestive and symboloic from the view point of Sri VaishNavA doctrines and this Vedic sanction and support accounts for the AzhwArs unique anubhavam of this avathAram.
ANDAL saluted Him as " Ongi UlahaLantha Uttaman " in her third Thiruppavai verse. GodhA piratti refers to the all- pervasiveness of Sriman NaarAyaNA first here and then the esoteric chant (vaachaka manhtram)," Uttaman pEr " next. Thirumangai on the other hand refers to the Thirumanthiram first and then only. The VyApthi (VishNu tattvam) of our Lord in his ThirunedumthAndakam (4.5). Both of them are celebrating the SarvOtthamathvam (uttaman) of VishNu- NaarAyaNan here.
NammAzhwAr invited the world to see the enfolding wonderment of the sacred feet of the Lord shooting up and out to measure the earth and the sky (KaaNmingal ulaheer yenru kaNNmuhappE nimirntha TaaLiNayan). Our Lord's paadham and the Sri paadha theertham is the most sacred for us as salvation.
Thirumangai stood before ThiruvEnkatamudayAn and reflected on the adhbhutham of the Lord measuring the entire world with His two steps (Kondaai KuraLaai nilam yeeradiyAlE, VindOyi sikartthiruvEnkatam meya--).
At KaazhiccheerAma ViNNagaram, Thirumangai was filled with wonder about the Lord's power to get the sky and the earth under two of His steps and shattering the ego of Maha Bali (oru KuraLaairunilam moovadi maNN vEndi, ulahanaitthum eeradiyAl odukki -- maavaliyai sirayil vaittha TADaLan thALaNaiveer). The choice of the word "aNaiveer" is so rich in rasam and reveals the compassion of AzhwAr in his role as an AchAryA.
At ThiruarimEya ViNNagaram, Thirumangai is filled with astonishment over the deed that the Lord accomplished at the yaga SaalA of MahA Bali. He describes this kshEthram as the site, where the Lord came in the form of a dwarf and asked for three feet of earth as gift and then grew immensely to measure the ocean-coverd earth, the sky and the space in between effortlessly (mihu siRu kuRaLaai moovadi yenru iranthittu, anDamum ivvalikkadalum avanigaLellam aLantha pirAn amaramu idam).
At ThiruveLLiangudi divya desam , Thirumangai salutes this kshEthram as the one belonging to the kapata vAmanan , who with His three steps filled the eight directions ( TeLLIya KuraLaai moovadi kondu thikkura vaLarnthavan koil ).
At ThiruvazhundUr , the peripatetic Thirumangai stops to wonder at the miracle of the Lord transforming from the appearance as a dwarf to that of TrivikramA to measure the universes with His three steps and saluted Him as his Lord ( talaivan ) this way :
vaanavar tam thuyar
theera vandhu thOnRi
maaNuruvaai moovadi maavaliyai vEndi ,
tani mudal chakkarappadai yen talaivan kaaNmin
He was probably reminded by the " KaaNminkalulaheer " invitation of NammAzhwAr at ThiruviNNagaram , when he concluded this verse with " kaaNmin " ..
The AchAryAs followed the way shown by the AzhwArs. AaLavanthAr saluted Trivikrama in the 31st verse of his SthOthra Rathnam and wondered as to when the lotus feet of the Lord of Trivikraman with the signs of the divine chakram ,conch , mace , flag , goad and other lAnchanAs are going to decorate his head :
kathA puna: sanka
dvajAravinda Ankusa vajralaanchanam I
Trivikrama tvaccharaNAmbhuja dvayam
madheeya murdhAnamalankarishyathi ? II
Swami Desikan composed an entire sthuthi on DehaLeesa-Trivikraman, which is the focus of these postings .
Later , Sri NarAyaNa Bhattadhiri celebrated this fast growing rUpam of Trivikraman and the Lord's wonderful metamorphosis this way :
divyam rUpam tava cha
tadhitham pasyathAm visvabhAjam
ucchairucchai avrudhat avdheekruthya visvAnDa bhAnDam
Sri Bhattadhiri experiences like Thirumangai and NammAzhwAr the scene that unfolded before one and all ( kaaNmingaL ulaheer ) and describes it as VisvabhAjAm pasyathAm ( before all that witnessed the scene ) , tava divyam tadh idham rUpam ( this short dwarf form of Yours ) visvabhAndam avadheekruthya ucchairucchai: avrudhaath ( grew higher and higher and defined the boundaries of BrahmAndam ).
Sriman K.C.VaradAchAri comments on the concept of the Vamana-TrivikramA that overpowered the imagination of the AzhwArs this way : " The VamanA became the TrivikramA. KaTopanishad says that VamanA is the Godhead secret in the heart of man , and VishNu as the Omni-pervading being outside as the TrivikramA. The identity between the minutest (aNOraNeeyAn) and the vastest (mahathOrmaheeyAn) is the supreme identity that is shown to be the doctrine of VisishtAdvaithic intrepretation of the vEda MahA Vakyams , " Aham BrahmAsmi " , or "So'ham asmi" or Tath tvamasi " . This myth is very important for understanding the Real existence of the Omnipervading deity . This myth is found in the Veda itself."
DayAnandha Saraswathi, the reputed commentator of VedAs lends support to this view , when he intreprets the name "VishNu " as " yO vEvEshti sa Jagadheesvara: " ( The Lord who is all-pervading is VishNu ) .
Let us now look at the original rks of ancient Rg vedam, where TrivikramAvathAram alone is saluted among all the avathArAs of Sriman VishNu-NaarAyaNan. They are found in the first and sixth cantos of Rg vedam (1.22.17-21, 1.154.1, 1.155.4,and 6.49.13). These manthrams are mystical and moving and formed the basis of the adoration of Trivikraman by the AzhwArs and AchAryAs.
Rg Rk 1.22.17 is the celebrated rk that we invoke in our worship of the Lord :
trEdhA ni dhadhE padham I
samULahamasya paamsurE II
(meaning) : The omnipresent and the omnipotent Lord dominates over ALL the three regions --earth , mid region and the sky -and His one step is rooted in the deep dark mystery , beyond the ken of mankind .
Rks 1.22.20& 21 are equally famous and are used by us in our daily aaradhanams:
tadh VishNO's paramam
padham sadhA pasyanthi sUraya: I
divIva chakshur atatam II
tadh viprAsO vipanyavO jaagruvAmsa: samindhathE I
VishNOr yath paramam padham II
(Meaning): The emancipated ones (wise and true seekers) realize and experience the Lord through meditation within their own selves . They recognize (see) Him vividly as the eye ranges (recognizes) the yonder sky.
Through transcendental meditation and dharmic (pious) acts, the persevering (vigilant) seeker of truth realizes (experiences) the all-pervading God within the innermost cavity (of his heart) , the supreme abode of the Lord .
pra tadhvishNu: sthavEna
na bheema: kucharO girishtA : I
yasyOrushu thrishu vikramaNEshvadhikshiyanthi
bhuvanAni visvA II
The " Visva " sabdham and " the Thrishu VikramaNEshu " picture are linked here. Sri MadhvAchArya once gave 100 interpretations to that first naamam of Sri VishNu sahasra Naamam. This mathram is therefore very profund to understand the Trivikrama avathAram of VishNu-NaarAyaNan . The meaning of this Rk is as follows: " The omnipresent, all-pervading Lord has been dominating the world by His prowess like a sturdy wild mountain lion dominates the forests. Within His three extended paces (strides), He encompasses (covers) the entire creation (of His).
Rk 1.155.4& 5 salutes again the three consecutive steps of the Lord so that the world may live in peace and states that no one comprehends the mystery of the third step.
I will conclude this posting on the mystery of the three steps of the Trivikraman with the reference to the Rg Rk 6.49.13 .
yO rajAmsi vimamE
pArthivAni tris chidh
vishNur manavE bhAdhithAya I
tasya tE sarmann upadadhyamAnE rAyA
madEma tanvA tanA cha II
(Meaning): O All-pervading Lord! May we happy in a home filled with riches, progeny and relatives bestowed on us by You. You measure out all the universes in three strides and guard mankind from the inauspiciousness of the dark forces.
Dayandha Saraswathi interprets here the name of VishNu-Trivikraman as the one , who measured the universes with three steps to protect the people in peril and to ward off the dangers from such a peril .
This is the Vedic mystery that inspired the AzhwArs and AchAryAs to seek Trivikraman as their ever-supportive, never-failing saviour (aapath bhAndhavan and AnAtha rakshakan who came to the rescue when His devotees like Gajendran, Drowpathi and PrahlAdhA cried out for Him in their hours of Ccrisis).
I will cover in this posting three items as a prelude to the actual coverage of DehaLeesa sthuthi. These are: (1) Srimadh Bhagavatham's coverage of vamAna /Trivikrama avathAram (8th Canto) that inspired Swami Desikan (2) His own reference to this meaningful avathAram in the 8th verse of MummaNikkOvai and (3) Sri NaarAyaNa Bhattadhiri's anubhavam of Sri GuruvAyurappan as Vaamana -Trivikraman in his Sri NaarayaNeeyam's 30th and 31st sargams.
BhAgavatham 's coverage
When amrutham was obtained as a result of the Lord's assistance as KUrma mUrthy , Indra and the DevAs got the upper hand in their battle with the asurAs and the kings of the asurA clan like MahA Bali were killed . The guru of asurAs, SukrAchAryA with his power of penance brought back to life , MahA Bali and his retinue throught the performance of a MahA Yajnam known as Visvajith .
MahA Bali and his associates got restored to their lives and went after IndrA and the DevAs and drove IndrA from his kingdom. The mother of IndrA, Athithi Devi appealed to her lord, Kasyapa PrajApathi and asked him for guidance on redressing the sufferings of their son, IndrA. Kasyapa PrajApathi advised his wife that the performance of the PayOvratha hOmam consisting of the aahuthi of rice cooked in milk would please Sriman NaarAyaNA would lead to the birth of a son, who would help IndrA regain his kingdom. Athithi Devi performed with austerity the recommended hOmam and had the good fortune of having Sriman NaarAyaNA Himself as her son (Vaamana MUrthy). She appealed to her new-born dwarf-staured son to help His brother, IndrA and restore his kingdom.
MahA Bali was restored to life not only because of the manthra balam of SukrAchAryA, but also because of the vow given by the Lord during NarasimhAvathAram to PrahlAdhan that He will not kill any of his descendants. MahA Bali was the grandson of PrahlAdhA. Hence, Sriman NaarAyaNA brought him back to life and to enact his avathAra kaaryam as Vaamana-TrivikramA.
Sriman NaarAyaNA responded to the austere performance of PayOvratham by the Deva MaathA. She had prayed to Him at the end of observance this way and the Lord responded as He does to the sincere prayers of His bhaktha SikhAmaNis:
theerthasrava SRAVANA MANGALA NAAMADHEYA I
sam na: krudheesa Bhagavannasi dheenanAtha : II
--- Srimadh Bhagavatham 8-17-8
(Meaning): O Lord of the Yaj~nAs! O Yaj~na rUpi! O Achyutha, who does not let down any one, who sought your refuge! O Lord, who has the Ganga theertham flow from Your sacred feet! O BhagavAn , who quenches the thirst of the SaraNAgathAs ! O Primeval Lord (Aadhi PurushA)! Please bless us with auspiciousness. Are not You indeed the one who comes to the rescue of the meek and downtrodden (dheenAs)?
The Lord entered the Veeryam of Kaasyapa PrajApathi in response to the prayers of Athithi. Our sAsthrAs state that the Jeevan stays in the Purusha Garbham for two months and then enters the wife's garbham through garbhA dhAnam and stays there for ten months before coming out as a child.
The Lord appeared as a son of Athithi after 12 months and incarnated on the day when SravaNa nakshathram and Dwadasi thithi were in unison. He appeared with sankham and chakram in the Prakata (shining, illustrious) VaishNava RUpam (in the divya rUpam as VishNu):
prAsUtha cha prakata
VaishNava divya rUpam
saa dvAdasi srAvaNa puNyadinE bhavantham
--- Sri NaarAyaNeeyam : 30.4
In the asramam of Kasyapa and Athithi, the Lord was born with VishNu chihnams and the blessed parents eulogized the Lord and AT THAT MOMENT, the Lord assumed the form of a dwarf brahmachAri:
JayEthi nutha: pithrubhyAm
tvam Tath KshaNE patutamam vaturUpamAdhA :
--Sri NaarAyaNeeyam: 30.5
(Meaning): At that instant , when the parents were saluting the Lord with folded hands, He transformed Himself into a brisk BrahamchAri rUpam.
The great sage, Kasyapa performed Upanayanam for his " brahmachAri " son and the mother, BrahmA, Sarasvathi, Saptha Rishis and KubEran presented Him with the insignias of Brahmacharyam such as Munji belt made out of dharbha grass, PalAsa dhandam, deer skin (KrishNAjinam), KankaNam, loin cloth, Kamandalu, umbrella and bikshApaathram. The Lord is never without His consort, MahA Lakshmi. He had her as always on His chest and here in this brahmachAri rUpam, he had her covered under the deer skin.
The Lord shone with these symbols associated with the celibate status and was ready for UpAkarmA /VedhArambham. Surya Bhagavan blessed the Lord with Gayathri Manthra UpadEsam, since he is the athishTaana daivam for Gayathri manthram. He replaced the father's usual role here. The Deva Guru, Bruhaspathi had presented earlier the Lord with YajnOpaveetham. Kasyapa PrajApathi tied the munji belt around the waist of the Lord, his son. This munji belt according to AtharvaNa vedam banishes the rOgam associated with the bladder for BrahmachAris.
BhUmi Devi presented Her Lord with KrishNAjinam to confer long life. The wearing of the deer skin on the celibate's body wards off Kshaya rOgam (tuberculosis) as well. Chandran presented the Lord with palAsa dhandham (samith). BrahmachAris carry palAsa dhandham to protect their memory of the VedhAdhyananam. PalAsam is the name of Purasa tree, which has the three branched growth in reverence to the TripAdha Gayathri that the DevAs meditated upon under it.
BrahmachAris performing VedAdhyayanam have to rush to their Guru"s side for performing service at all times including the mid day, when the sun is at its apex . Hence , an umbrella is useful to them. When the heat from the sun affects the delicate circulation of the thin region of the skin covering the ears, the circulation to the brain is affected and hence , BrahmachAris have to protect themselves against the sun .
Veda Viths must always have water for achamanam and prOkshaNam. Hence Kamandalu is carried by the ones exposed to the VedhAs. Brahma DevA gave the kamandalu to the Lord anticipating the use of his own kamandalu theertham to serve as Paadhyam for the Lord's feet as it shot up towards his own home, SatyalOkam.
The BikshApAthram was given to the Lord by KubhEran, the Lord of wealth. UmA Devi as Anna pUrNi gave the first Bikshai. Normally, the BrahmachAri asks his mother or sister after Upanayanam for Bikshai (Bhavathi BikshAm DEhi). The reason is that the BrahmachAri does not want to encounter a negative response for his first Bikshai. Srimadh Bhagavatham says in this context:
" BikshAm Bhagavathee SaakshAth UmAdhAdhambikhA sathee "
Brahmin's wealth is his penance. Brahma sUthram (pUNal) protects that accumulated Tapas. Hence Brahspathi BhagavAn appeared in person and presented the pUNal to the Lord.
Surya BhagavAn initiated the Vaamanan with Gayathri manthram for Loka kshEmam. Gayathri is recited according to Bhishma for the preservation of auspiciousness in the world and to avoid akAla mrithyu (Na tathra mriyathE bAla: Gayathri yathra japyathE).
The Lord equipped with all the insignias of a celibate who has performed His upAkarmA walked towards the Yaaga SaalA of MahA Bali :
vivEsa vipraddhayamEdha vAtam I
mounjyA mEkalayA veetham
jatilam VAAMANAM vipram mAyA mANavakam Hari: II
(Meaning): Hari NaarAyaNan travelled thus towards the yAgasAlA of the AsurA king wearing the kusA rope belt, carrying the umbrella, kamandalu, palAsa dhandham and hiding His extraordinary power and the gigantic form that he was going to take soon.
Bhagavatham says in the next slOkam that the Bhumi bent under the weight of this Kapata Vaamana rUpi.
The Yaaga SaalA was on the banks of NarmadhA river. SukrAchArya and the assembled ruthvikhs were dazzled by the tejas of the dwarf that presented himself there. He came there not so much to punish MahA Bali for his trespasses, but to bless him as the grandson of His devout BhakthA, PrahlAdhA. MahA Bali stopped his Yajnam and greeted the Brahmin dwarf full of Vedha Sampath. He washed the feet of the Vaamana mUrthy and placed that water on his head out of respect.
Srimadh Bhagavatham describes MahA Bali's happiness over the arrival of Vaamanan at his Yajnam:
adhya na: pithara:
trupthA : adhya na: Paavitham kulam I
adhya: svishta: krathurayam yadh bavAn aagathO gruhAn II
---Srimadh Bhagavatham 8.18.30
(meaning) : Today, my pithrUs (ancestors) are very pleased (fulfilled); my vamsam is sanctified by your arrival ; my yajnam is fructified .
Then, he goes on to say that he is freed of all sins by placing the paadhOdhakam from the Vedavith and the whole yaaga saalA has become purified. MahA Bali then asks the vaamana mUrthy to choose a gift. The kapata Vaamanan asks for three feet of land. MahA Bali is offended by this modest request. He goads the Vaamanan to ask for some thing more fitting his rank as an emperor. The kapata Vaamanan insists on just three feet of land (BhUmim paadha traya parimithAm prArhtayAmAseetha tvam). SukrAchArya begins to understand the intent of the Kapata Vaamanan and warns his sishyan against giving such a dhanam requested by the dwarf, whom he recognizes as none other than Hari NaarAyaNan. MahA Bali refuses to go back on his word and deeds the gift requested. He pours the water on the hands of the Dwarf BrahmachAri and AT THAT INSTANT, the Lord transformed from the Vaamana to Trivikrama rUpam and shot up skyward and measured both the sky and the entire earth with His two steps.
The Lord then asked MahA Bali as to where He should place His third step. THe AsurA king begged the Lord to place His third step on his head and the Lord obliged. Out of His affection for the grandson of PrahlAdhA, the Lord created a lOkam known as Suthalam and settled MahA bali there with his family and retinue and protected the asurA king there by being as his rakshakan.
celebration of TrivikramAvathAram
In the eighth verse of MummaNikkOvai, our AchAryA salutes the Trivikraman this way:
kAraNanAi ninra kadalvaNNan --nAraNanAr
ippatikku mikkanreduttha paadhankazhuva
meypadikka maanathu pon verpu
(Meaning): The Lord, who is being sought by the VedAs appeared and settled at Thiruvaheendrapuram as DevanAthA and illumines this kshEthram as the primeval cause of this world (Jagath kaaraNa bhoothan). This Lord having the hue of the bluish ocean excelled once before as Trivikraman, who measured with two steps the earth and the sky and had His son, BrahmA wash His sacred feet with the Kamandalu theertham, which was received by the golden mountain , MEru serving as a receptacle ( receiving/storing vessel ) .
Sriman NArAyaNan is sakalEthara VilakshaNan (i-e), He is matchless (tann OppAr Illappan). He is the one that nothing can match or exceed with regard to His kalyANa GuNAs (viz); Sowlabhyam (ready accessibility to His devotees), Sowseelyam (free and easy communion with His devotees), sarva jana rakshathvam, infinite Daya (grace and compassion) that confers on the Mumukshus (seekers of Moksham) the status of apahathapApmathvam (the pristine state of complete freedom from all sins attained by the prapannA due to His DayA).
When the three AzhwArs (divya sUris) were squeezed in the dehaLi of Mrugandu Muni's aasramam, in a spirit of eika kantyam (unified thought with out dissonance), they poured out their hearts to their sarva swAmi in three hundred moving verses, which are testaments to their svAbhAvika (natural, innate) Parabhakthi, ParajnAnam and ParamajnAnam.
Let us focus on the above three important concepts. The first of the three Mudal AzhwArs (Poygai) inferred (intuited) Sriman NaarAyaNA's existence (being) through his transcendent knowledge (parajnAnam). Through this effort, he removes the outter darkeness as it were.
The second AzhwAr ( PutattAr ) "through maturing gnosis" transforming into devotion experienced Sriman NaarAyaNA at the dehaLi . This is the fruit of his parabhakthi. He drove away the inner darkness this way .
The third Divya sUri ( Pey ) through his intuitive union of knowledge and devotion (parama JnAnA ) had the divya chkshus ( divine vision ) for all the three of them to see the auspicious subhAsrayam (thirumEni) of the Lord with MahA Lakshmi and the Lord's disc and conch at the small space of the dehaLi . This is " the mayarvara mathi nalam " referred to by NammAzhwAr. Bhakthi and JnAnam mingle and become BhakthirupApanna JnAnam. At this stage , JnAnam ripens and transforms to parabhakthi . They are not easily separable according to AchArya RamAnujA. He states " Semushi BhakthirUpA ". With the blessings of their svAbhAvika parajnAnA , Parabhakthi and paramajnAnA , the three AzhwArs had the sAkshAthkAram ( direct vision ) of the Lord and His consort on that dark , rainy night at Gopapuri.
Swami Desikan reflects on the blessings conferred on the three AzhwArs by Sriman NaarAyaNA's dayA and aasritha vaathsalyam and longs for a similar blessing . He pours out his heart in 28 brilliant slokAs housing great Sri VaishNavA doctrines that echo the thoughts enshrined in the three hundred celebratory verses of the three ThiruvandhAthis dealing with the three rahasyams .
He suggests that the the
three doctrines (concepts) ( tattva , hitha and purushArtham ) are derived
from the three ThiruvandhAthis . Our AchAryAs have revealed to us that
" the paramount thatvam or Parama Thatvam " is none other than
Sriman NaarAyaNA " , the antharyAmi of all
the chEthanAs and the AchEthanAs . The AchAryAs have reitireated that our paramahitham, " the only means to gain our Lord's grace is SaraNAgathi " . They have untiringly revealed to us in one voice that the parama-purushArtham is nithya kaimkaryam to His bhagavathAs on this earth and eternal service to Him in parama padham . Our Sri Dileepan's summary of the upadesam of Srimadh Azhagiya Singar on the occasion of his prapatthi endearingly enshrine these ancient and eternal thoughts for our ujjevanam ( Sri Nrusimha PriyA of North America ,August 1997 issue ) .
Swami Desikan was
essentially reflecting on these eternal truths , when he stood before the
Moola VirAt of Trivikrama at thirukkOvalUr and thought about the special
drama that the Lord played in this divya desam to confer His blessings on
the three "Mudal AazhwArs " and begged
for a similar blessing from the Lord . Thus arose the twenty eight verses of the moving DehaLIsa Sthuthi .
I will now cover the individual verses in subsequent postings and comment on their literal and inner meanings . In these efforts , I am guided by the commentaries of my Maanaseeka AachAryA , Sri V.N. Srirama DesikAchAr Swamy of my native place , a great Sri Swami Desika BhakthA, Sri Dindukkal Ramaswamy AyyangAr and Abhinava Desika Sri UttamUr VeerarAghavAchArya Swami . May Swami Desikan bless these paultry efforts attempted in a spirit of sharing my limited understanding of this vast and complex subject .
The first verse of this Sthuthi consists of Swami Desikan's prayerful appeal to the presiding deity of ThirukkOvalUr ( ThirukkOilUr ) for his rakshaNam (protection ) . Swami salutes the Lord , who measured the universes and the space beyond in His two strides .
Swami recollects that during His incarnation as the dwarf brahmachAri, the Lord asked for three steps of land as a gift and then expanded and measured the earth and space and made them His own . The Maharishis, emperor MahA Bali , the dEvAs , BrahmA , SivA and all thsoe who witnessed the miracle of the Lord's sprading feet sweeping the expanses slauted Him as the prime cause behind the existence and functioning and the dissolution of the universe .
Our AchAryA points out to us that the Lord of such glory and power presides over this divya desam and blesses every one with parama purushArhtam and prays to Him to extend His net of protection to him as well.
The first slOkam containing the above thoughts is as follows :
Vikramya yEna vijithAni
viswasya yam parama kaaraNam aamananthi I
visrANayan praNayinam vividhAn pumarthAn
GopthA sa mE bhavathu GopapurAdhirAja : II
The anvaya kramam flows this way :
Yena bhoomnA jaganthi
vikramya vijithAni ,
Yam viswasya parama kAraNam aamananthi ,
praNayinAm vividhAn pumarthAn visrANayan ,
Sa: GopupurAdhirAja : mE GopthA bhavathu
Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar"s translation brings beautifully the meaning of this verse . I will quote his traslation for the verse and add my comments .
" May that Supreme Ruler (King) of Gopapuri (KovalUr) by whom the worlds were (stepped over) measured and conquered , who is regarded as the ultimate cause of the Universe , who bestows the various kinds of PurushArthAs on His devotees , May He be my protector ! " .
In this slOkam set in the
third person , Swami Desikan has three major themes in mind to slaute the
greatness of the Lord of Gopapuri . The first is " Yena bhoomnA
jaganthi vijithAni " ; the second is " Yam viswasya parama
kAraNam aamananthi " and the third is (Ya: ) praNayinAm
vividhAn pumarthAn visrANayan " .
1 .YENA BHOOMNAA JAGANTHI VIKRAMYA VIJITHAANI
Appropriately enough ,
Swami Desikan starts with the word " Vikramya " to remind us of
the VikramaNam (stride) of the Trivikraman of this divya desam . The Lord
incarnated as VamanA on the SravaNa DvAdasi day
in the aasramam of Sage Kasyapa and his wife Athithi . Sri NaarAyaNeeyam saLutes the birth of the Lord as VamanA in the 30th dasakam :
prAsUtha cha PRAKATA
VAISHNAVA DIVYA RUPAM
Saa DVAADASEE SRAVANA PUNYADINEH BHAVANTHAM
The moment he was born with sankam and chakram , he hid His avathAra rahasyam and assumed the form of a brisk , dwarf brahmachAri (patutamam vaturUpamAdhA :) Thereafter , the brisk brahmachAri proceeded to the site of Maha Bali's yajnam . Under the mighty steps of this BrahmachAri, the earth bent ( BhaarENa ghAm sannamayanpadhE padhE ) according to Srimadh Bhagavatham . The appearnce of this extraordinary celibiant at the Yajnam is further described by Srimadh Bhagavatham through the following verse :
vivEsa vibhradhdhayamEgavAtam I
mounchyA mEkalayA veetham upaveethAjinOttharam II
jatilam Vaamanam vipram maaNavakam HARIM II
This Hari NaarAyaNan dressed in the garb of a BrahmachAri asking for Bikshai with his dhandam , umbrella , kamandalu , munji belt , jatai , upaveetham with the krishNajinam to hide the presence of inseparable MahA Lakshmi on His chest arrived and begged for three feet of land (bhUmim pAdha traya parimithAm praarthayAmi) . Inspite of the protestation of his AchArya, MahA Bali granted the wish and poured water in the extended hands of the Kapata Vaaman to solemnize the deed. What happened next is beautifully described by Sri NaarAyaNa Bhattadhiri:
divyam rUpam tava cha
tadhitham pasyathAm visvabhAjA-
mucchairucchairavrudhatheekruthya VISVAANDA BHAANDAM
The little figure of Vaamana mUrthy set the brahmAndam as its border and grew on and on instantaneously. One foot covered the earth and measured it; the other foot stepped up and measured the aakasam and beyond.
This VIKRAMANAM of the Trivikraman celebrated by the Sri VishNu sahasra Naamam passage , 'IsvarO vikrami dhanvI medhAvi vikrama krama: " becomes the immediate object of attention of Swami Desikan and becomes the first word of the first verse of this Sthuthi ( Vikramya ) .
That He conquered and reclaimed the Universe that is always His is referred to in the subsequent words: " Vikramya yEna vijithAni Jaganthi " ( By whom the universe was pervaded , measured and conquered ) .
What was the power behind such a conquest ? What was the vidhyA used to achieve this superlative deed asks Swami Desikan next and answers with one word , which forms the final word of the first paadham of this first slOkam of dEhaleesa Sthuthi . That word is BHOOMNAA . This word has a profound upanishadic significance and is very dear to Achaarya RaamAnujA and occurs in ChandhOgya Upanishad as BhoomaadhikaraNa vidhyA. We will cover the signinficance of this word pregnant with meaning to understand Swami Desikan's meticulous choice of this word to salute the Anantha kalyANa guNaas of dEhalIsA of ThirukkOvalUr.
Today is the holiest of holy days for Sri VaishNavAs. Today is the day of SRAVANA DVAADASI , the day when fasting gives the fruit of fasting on 10,000 EkAdasi days . SravaNa DvAdasi day is also the day on which Sriman NaarAyaNA incarnated as Vaamana Murthy to bless MahA Bali, the grand son of PrahlAdA .
Today , we will continue
with the first slokam and the profound concept of Bhuman . The word Swami
Desikan chose in the first line of the first slOkam was " BhumnA
" derived from Bhuman meaning plenty , abundance , great quantity and
Infinity . Swami Desikan salutes the glory or mahimA
of Trivikraman with the statement : " Yena bhumnaa jaganthi vikramya vijithAni " . Sri RamAnujA's commentary in Sri Bhashyam is very appropriate to understand the significance of the term " BhUmnA " chosen by Swami Desikan to celebrate the infinite glory of the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr .
The context of the BhumAdhikAram in the seventh chapter of ChandhOgya Upanishad is relevant to cover as preface on BhUmA and BhUmnA .Once NaradA approached SanatkumArA and lamented about his lack of knowledge of Atman inspite of his mastery over manthrAs .
The compassionate SanathkumArA instructed NaradA about BhUma VidyA and defined BhUman as the infinite , the immense . He said that BhUman as the infinite is sukhA and sukhA itself is identified with Satya . Earlier ChandhOgya Upanishad had defined Brahman as Kham or infinite joy ( parama Sukham ) . Taittiriya Upanishad has also defined Brahman as Aanandam or bliss absolute .
Sage SanatkumArA offered the following definition for BhUman :
" Yathra nAnyath pasyathi , nAnyath sriNOthi , nAnyath Vij~nAthi , sa BhUmA ; atha yathra anyath pasyathi , anyath sriNOthi ,anyath vij~nAthi tadh alpam " ( Where one does not see another ,hear another , and does not know another , that one is BhUman ; where one does see another , hear another , and know another ,that is trivial ) . Sri RamAnujA explains " where " as " that in the experience of which " .
It has been pointed out that the nature of joy that flows from BhUman is limitless and infinite . Therefore , any one , who is in communion wiht Brahman by the way of comprehension , does not experience any sorrow , since Brahman is infinitely blissful by svabhAvam .
Sage SanathkumArA answers the next the question of his pupil, NaradA on what the BhUman is established in. The teacher answers that it is established in ITS own glory or mahimA (SVE MAHIMNI). This is a case of SELF-DEPENDENCE. The sage hastens to correct any impression that BhUman is deriving anything from its glories. Sudarsana Suri, who wrote Srutha PrakAsikA (Acharya RaamAnujA's Bhashyam from his kalakshEpam under his feet) points out in the context that " there is no denial of glory. but , there is a denial of His being established in the glory of the form of Lordship ( Iswarathvam ) over all things derived and controlled .
Professor SampathkumAran has added his thoughts on the BhUman this way: " God's glories are gifts and not investments. The creative self-manifestaton of God is for imparting life out of His own abundance (bhUman) and not for rectification of His deficiencies. As this urge for self-impartation is an eternal attribute, He mainfests Himself through eternity. He is the paramAthamn (supreme aathman) described as the Bhuman of this nature and is all pervading as Trivikrama VishNu. In this sense, he fits the description of ChandhOgya Upanishad, " Sa eva idham sarvam ". This statement goes beyond the earlier statement of Saandilya VidhyA of the very same upanishad, which declared, " Sarvam kalu idham BrahmA ".
This paramAthman described as the BhUman of this nature is the transcendent absolute , which in its immanence of creative involvement with the world of finites is recognized as an irreducible fact (AthmathA eva idam sarvam --Ch.U VII .26.1) . " Only from the Supreme Self does everything come into being. He who knows this goes beyond all afflictions and achieves all-sided (full) perfection (Ch.U VII .26.2)". Such is the comprehesion and perfection that Swami Desikan was seeking, when he stood in front of GopapurIsan and stated " Yena BhUmnA Jaganthi vikramya vijithAni ".
2. VISVASYA YAM PARAM KAARANAM AAMANNTHI
This is the second paadham of the first slOkam. Based on the above lengthy intrepretation of the word " BhUMnA " , Swami Desikan"s reference to the Lord as the first and fundamental cause (parama KaaraNam) of this manifested world becomes transparent .
The references here are to Brahma sUtram II.1.14 (TadhanyathvamArambhaNasabdhAdhibhya:) and a slokam in Srimadh Bhagavatham , which reveals : " At the end of the kalpA , the self-luminous Lord manifested (abhivyanak) this world , which was covered with blinding darkness wrought by Time , through His self-luminous power (chithsakthi) " . Thus He , the Jagadh-prathama mangaLam becomes the parama-kAraNam of this visvam . That is what the Upanishads and VedAs sing about. Swami Desikan reminds us of this fundamental fact, while seeking the protection of his Creator .
3. VISRAANAYAN PRANAYINAAM PUMARTHAAN
This is the third paadham of the first slOkam that declares "He is the giver of many boons and blessings (PurushArthams) to His devotees (praNayinAM). He is the veritable VaradarAjan residing at Gopapuri ".
4. GOPTHAA SA ME BHAVATHU GOPAPURAADHIRAAJA :
In this fourth paadham of the first slOkam , Swami Desikan prays to the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr and requests the boon of Him becoming his protector ( gOpthA ) .
In the second slokam of Sri DehaLIsa sthuthi, Swami Desikan reveals the reason for his boldness to eulogise the supreme Lord . He states that he was tongue-tied and awe-struck at the thought of the Lord's matchless act of measuring the earth and the space with two of His strides and how at the same time He is readily accessible to His devotees . Then , Swami Desikan says that he reflected upon the simplicity of the act of the Lord letting Himself crushed in the tight space of a dEhaLi and that thought made his tongue loosen and let him become almost " garrolous in His praise " .
The second slokam set in a confessional tone begins to address the Lord in second person directly :
thustUshathAm disathi gadhgadhikAnubhandham I
vAchAlayathyaTha cha maam kvachana kshapAyAm
kshAnthEna dhAntha kavimukhya vimardhanEna II
Anvya Kramam ) :
DEhaLadhIswara ! tava yeedhrusam
Iswarathvam thushtUshathAm gadhgadhikA anubhandham
disathi . atha cha kvachana kshapAyAm kshAnthEna
dhAntha kavi mukhya vimarthanEna maam vAchAlayathi .
The key words in this slOkam are kvachana KshapAyAm (on that one unforgettable night) , vimarthanEna (being pressed) ,dhAntha: (those, who had achieved full control of their IndriyAs) and kavi mukhyA: (pre-eminent poets in Tamil/inn paadum kavigal according to NammAzhwAr and pAttukkuriya pazhayavar moovar according to Swami Desikan).
(meaning) : O Supreme Lord of the dEhaLi ! The immensity of your superiority ( Lordship ) makes one attempting to eulogize You, dumb-struck and tongue-tied and makes them choke in their efforts. Their voice thickens, the tears swell in their eyes. Overpowered by the thought of your grandness, they are unable to continue with their intention to sing Your praise. Yet, the very same matchless Iswarathvam of Yours instead of keeping me as one of the silent majority makes me garrulous in my efforts to praise You. The very same Iswarathvam of yours displayed in the small space of a dEhaLi on that unforgettable night, when You permitted Yourself to be crushed by those three pre-eminent poets known for their total conquest of their senses (IndriyAs).
Swami Desikan explains here as to what emboldened him to approach the Supreme Lord of ThirukkOvalUr and venture to sing about His anantha kalyANa guNAs . He says that the very same supermacy ( Iswarathvam ) , which made others self-conscious liberated him and his tongue .Swami states that the very thought of the Sowlabhyam of the Lord , which made Him mingle with His three dear devotees in a dEhaLi removed the inhibitions that he might have had like others engaged in a similar effort . The Lord , Who is VachamAgocharam ( beyond words ) and aprAya manasA sa: ( unapproachable even by the mind ) became accessible to Swami Desikan as a result of his reflections on His sowlabhyam.
According to Sri D.Ramaswamy ayangaar , Swami Desikan has explained his reasons for venturing the unapproachable SarvEsvaran and His consort to eulogize them . In Sri VaradarAja panchakam , it was the Lord's affection (vaathsalyam) that made him bold (vAthsalyamEva mukharIkarOthi). In GodhA sthuthi, the auspicious guNAs of ANDAL makes him pour out his heart (Mowna dhruhO mukharayanthi guNAs tvadhIyA:). Here in the case of dEhaLIs asthuthi , it is the supermacy (Iswarathvam) that unleashes his tongue .
nimnOtha krama nidarsitha nEmi vrutthA : I
aarAdhya GopanagarE krupayOdhitham tvAm
svArAjyam argyam alabhantha surAsurEndrA : II
( anvaya kramam ) : tvadh
gUrNamAnE anEhasi nimna unnatha krama : nidarsitha
nEmi vrutthA : sura asura IndrA : gOpanagarE krupayA
udhitham tvAm aarAdhya argyam svArAyam alabhantha .
( meaning ) : O Lord of GopapurA ! The wheel of Time spins as fast as the ChakrAyutham ( Sudarsanam ) adorning Your hand . The hundreds of edges of Your chakram change their positions to up and down with time as it rotates fast . Similarly, the creators ( BrahmAs ) and the lord of dEvAs ( IndrAs ) and asurAs ( MahA Bali et al) change from their superior to lower positions with the spinning of the wheel of Time. They fully understand that their rank and power are thus not permanent and hence arrive at Your sannidhi in ThirukkOvalUr, perform aarAdhanam for You, rid themselves of the bonds of karma this way and attain moksham through engagement in Bhakthi or Prapatthi. Some attain residency in svarga lokam through their worship of You. Thus, the SurAs and AsurAs worship You, who appeared here out of Your own infinite mercy and attain the objects of their desire through Your anugraham.
subhagOnnatha bAhu sAka :
padhE sadhA paripachELima sathpalasthvam I
paNNAtaDa sprusi mruganDu tapOvanEsmin
chAyA nileena bhuvanOsi tamAla sAki II
( anvaya Kramam ) : PaNNA
taDa sprusi asmin MruganDu
tapOvanE tvam aakalpa pushpa subhaga unnatha bAhu
sAka: paadhE sadhA sath pala : chAyA nileena bhuvana:
tamAla sAkI asi .
(Meaning) : In this
penance-grove ( TapOvanam ) of sage MruganDu situated on the bank of the
river PaNNA ( PeNNai aaru ) , You stand like the green TamAla tree (
nettilinga pacchilai maram ) with its tall branches resembling your
bounteous , long and lovely hands , its flowers like Your beautiful
ornaments adorning You . This tree has at its lower portions ( feet of the
Lord ) has always the ripe and nourishing fruits ( boons of the Lord ) and
protects the world and its beings under it through its luminous shade (rakshakathvam
of the Lord).
You bathe the eyes of Your devotees with parmAnandham , while you stand on the banks of PaNNA river like a TamAla tree in the penance-grove of Sage MruganDu .
Here Swami Desikan compares the Lord to a tall , ever green TamAla tree . The attributes of the Lord found in the TamAla tree are (1) its long branches reminding Swami of the long and lovely arms of the Lord praised by Thirumangai as" nedum taDakkai " , (2) Yielding of its fruits not on the top branches , but at branches closer to the ground for one to pick them easily reminding one of the statement in parmArtha sthuthi ( PraNathai : GruhyathE palam ) . These fruits picked by the devotees through the act of salutation of the Lord are ripe , sweet and pure ( Suddha Satva mayam ) . Swami Desikan is also reminded of the cool and far-enveloping shade of this tree and compares it to the VaasudEva tarucchAyA , which with its lustre and shade enlivens and protects the world . The word ChAyA has been intrepretted by the commentators as to mean both shade and lustre. The Lord's radiance makes the Sun , Agni and the Moon lustrous and their effulgence is thus directly derived from the Lord's chAyA . This VaasudEva-Trivikrama TamAla tree extends its shadow far and wide and envelops the entire world under its shade and comforts the denizens of the universe .
The first slOkam of this Sthuthi spoke of the Lord's BhUmnA , the second of His Iswarathvam , the third of His position as the Lord of the dEvAs and the asurAs and the fourth as the fruit-laden , ever green tree to be enjoyed by one and all .
In the sixth slOkam ,
Swami Desikan describes how the three AzhwArs managed to see the Lord in
the dEhaLi of Sage Mrigandu's aasramam with the help of the special lamps
( deepams ) that they lit . Swami Desikan
elaborates on the power of the special deepams that they lit .
snehOpapanna parisuddha guNArpithEna I
dahrAvakAsa nipiTam dadrushur bahvantham
svAdhyAya yOga nayanA : suchaya: kaveendhrA : II
(Anvaya Kramam ) :
SvAdhyAya: yOga nayanA : suchaya :
kavi IndrA : , niseeThE aseetha ruchA kEnachidh snEha
upapanna: parisuddha guNa arpithEna deepEna ,
dahra avakAsa nipiTam bhavantham dadhdrusu :
(Meaning ) : Those holy men were princes among poets. With VedAs and yOgA(dhyAnam ) as their two eyes , they saw You , while you were actively squeezing them in the small space of the dEhaLi at ThirukkOvalUr during that celebrated midnight known for its darkness due to the absence of the lustre of the cool moon . They saw You with the help of a special kind of lamp , which had snEhA ( ghee, bhakthi ) as the fuel and sathva guNA as the wick . With this special lamp , they found You pressing them in the small space of their heart caves .
( comments ) :This slOkam celebrates the auspicious event for which ThirukkOvalUr is famous (viz)., the accidental assembly of the three great yOgis at the dEhaLi of Mrugandu maharishi on a dark night and the deliberate squeezing of them by the Lord of this divya dEsam that resulted in the advent of the divya prabhandhams from these princes among poets .
It is normal for the moon to illumine objects duirng dark nights. On that special night , there was no moon to assist these Yogis to find out , who was squeezing them at the dEhaLi. Hence, they lit an extraordinary lamp with the help of their deep devotion and sattva guNAs to have the bhAgyam of His darsanam .
It is also common practise for people to take an earthern or metallic vessel , fill it with ghee or oil , set a wick in that vessel and light the wick and use it to see objects around in dark nights. What these yOgis did was quite contrary to this common practise. Poygai made the world as the lamp vessel , the seas as the ghee and used Suryan as the wick to illumine the dark dEhaLi. PutattAr used his deep affection for the Lord as the vessel , his intense longing to see You as the ghee and made his reflections on His auspicious guNAs (dhyAna -janitha chinthanA) as the wick and created the light to see Him . Pey aazhwAr saw that the darkness was banished by the two lamps lit by his peers and hence with out any effort other than his own pristine bhakthi saw the Lord and His consort amidst them. The divine speech that flowed from took the form of the celestial songs constituting the first three prabhandhams .
These three great princes among poets have been saluted as "kaveendhrA:" by Swami Desikan here following their own abhivAdhanam of themselves and the eulogies of them by other AchAryAs. Putattar introduced himself for instance as " perum Tamizhan (great Tamizhan) "and as " JnAna Tamizh purindha naan" ( as the one , who composed divine poetry ) . Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr has saluted PeyAzhwAr as " Tamizh Talaivan " ( Chief among Tamizh poets ) . Poygai has been eulogized as " Kavij~nar pOrEru " ( the most powerful bull/vrushabham among poets ) in the taniyan for Mudal thiruvandhAthi . Swami Desikan has saluted their poetic skills collectively as " Paattukkuriya pazhayavar moovar "( the ancient and the hoary threesome ) in Srimadh Rahasya traya saaram .
Swami Desikan described that the three parama yOgis saw the Lord with the choice of the word , " dadhrusu : " . The Lord can not be seen according to the VedAs and Bhagavadh GithA . The Lord declares in Srimadh Bahgavdh GithA: " But thou can not see Me with these eyes of thine ; I will give thee supersensous sight ; behold my yoga power-supreme with those divya chakshus " . He says : na thu sakyasE dhrashtum anEnaiva svachakshush , divyam dadhAmi tE chakshu : pasya mE yOgamaisvaram " . The three saw what had not been seen until then by a special kind of lamp ( kEnachidh deepam ) . Their special deepam was the power of their yOga siddhi , sattva guNAs and their supreme devotion to the Lord . With these accessories , the first AzhwAr lit his lamp with the Sun as the wick and removed the external darkness . The second AzhwAr lit his own lamp with his" pining mind " as the wick and banished the internal darkness. These two lamps have no equal.
Swami Desikan has saluted the jyothi arising from these unique lamps and their assistance to the people of the world this way : " nAttukku iruL seha , naanmaRai anthi nadai viLanga , veetukkidaikkazhikkE veLi kaatum immey vilakkE " ( thus arose the true light of the lamp -- the three prabhandhams-- which resulted in the banishment of the darkness of false knowledge prevalent in the world and illumined the land with the jyOthi of the distilled essence of the vEdAs and revealed for our upliftment , the two upAyAs : Bhakthi and Prapatthi). This is the mey viLakku that Swami Desikan alludes to as"kenachidh deepam", which shed light over the ancient and glorious path carved out by the vEdAs and upanishads .
Swami Desikan born under the light of the Deepa PrakAsan's agrahAram in ThirutaNNkA (Thuppul) had a great fascination for the deepams, which to him are synonms for supreme tattvAs. In this sixth verse, he refers to "deepEna kEnachidh", the eternal deepams lit by the AzhwArs at ThirukkOvalUr .
Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar has pointed out that Swami Desikan saluted AchArya RaamAnujA himself as the eternal lamp known as" yathikshamAbruth deepam " ( verse 56 ) . That deepam is " nirupadhi para snEha bharitha yathikshamAbhruddh deepam " (natural and pristinely pure lamp filled with the oil of supreme devotion to Sriman NaarAyaNA known as the BhaashyakAra Deepam). Sri D. Ramaswamy Iyengar has further suggested that Swami Desikan out of his modesty named this work relating to the dispelling of the aj~nAnam of chEthanAs as " deepikA " instead of deepam. Sri D.R. Iyengar invites hence our special attention to the last skOkam of this DeepikA dealing with SaraNAgathi tatvam :
snEhOpapanna vishaya sva
bhUyas tamisra samaneem bhuvi VenkatEsa : I
divyAm sthuthim niramimeetha sathAm niyOgAth
DeepaprakAsa SaraNAgathi deepikAkyAm II
(Meaning) : The VedAnthAchAryan known as Sri VenkatEsan created this profound euology known as SaraNAgathi DeepiakA on VilakkoLi PerumAL (Deepa PrakAsan). In this work, he elaborated on the svarUpam and svabhAvam of the Lord, who is full of DayA and affection for the chEthanAs. Therefore, this sthOthram will banish the aj~nAnam and drive away the dark clouds of viparitha Jn~nam.
Swami Desikan took a clue from the prabhandhams of the three AzhwArs and named his sthuthi on DeepaprakAsan as DeepikA or Deepam . He uses the uthprEkshA ( pun ) again for the words in this slOkam : snEha -dasA -tamisra samanee-prakAsa . " Sneha upapanna " in the above verse can mean either full of affection or full of oil ; " sva dasA visEshAth " can mean either the special approaches used in the sthuthi or the rest of the wick ; " tamisra samaneem " can mean either capable of removing false knowledge or external darkness .
Thus Swami Desikan equated SaraNAgathi DeepikA to a lamp. Its oil , wick, darkness-removing quality, lustre were compared to snEha, dasA, tamisra samnee and prakAsam of this deepikA. It is no accident that Sawmi Desikan used the words " SnEhOpapanna " in both the DehaLIsa sthuthi ( verse 6 ) and SaraNAgathi DeepikA ( verse 59 ) . In DehaLIsa sthuthi , it refers to the bhakthi-laden mind set of the AzhwArs, while they lit their special lamps ; in the SaranAgathi DeepikA , it refers to the affection-laden frame of mind of Swami Desikan as he lit his own lamp before the VilakkoLi perumAL , while elaborating on SaraNAgathi tattvam of the Lord for our benefit .
Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar comments in this context :" The AzhwArs showed by the lamps lit by them the SUPREME TATTVA . Swami Desikan has shown that the SUPREME MEANS TO ATTAIN THAT TATTVA " .
I will cover the seventh slOkam in this posting. In this slOkam, Swami Desikan salutes the great upahAram that the three AzhwArs did in revealing the sowseelya guNam of BhagavAn . Sowseelyam aspect of BhagavAn relates to His sama bhAvam that permits Him to mingle with the high and the low with equal ease. Sri D.R. IyengAr describes this slOkam as a very sweet one for us to enjoy.
kAsAra pUrva kavi mukhya
paNNA tatEshu subhagasya rasO bahusthE I
tvath paadha padma madhuni tvadhanaya bhogyE
nUnam samAsrayathi nUthana sarkarAthvam II
( Anvaya Kramam ) :
kAsAra pUrva kavi mukhya
vimardha janmA paNNA tata ikshu subhagasya thE
bahu: rasa: tvadh ananya bhOgyE tvath paadha padma
madhuni nUthana sarkarAthvam sAmAsrayathi nUnam .
(Meaning) : " The large quantity of juice that was produced when Thou , who art sweet like the sugarcane growing on the banks of the river PeNNai , wert crushed by ( the crushing mill made up of ) the three great poets , evidently attained the state of fresh sugar at the honey of Thy feet enjoyed by those , who are devoted to Thee to the exclusion of all else " .
Sri D.R. Iyengar described this slOkam as a delectably sweet one because it deals with the sweet mystical experience of the three AzhwArs , when they extracted the sweet essence of the Lord , when He squeezed them tightly at the dEhaLi of sage Mrugandu . Swami Desikan associates their sweet mystical experience to the taste of sugar cane , its juice and the rock candy originating from it mingling with the honey of the Lord's sacred feet .
The Lord of ThirukkOvalUr
residing at His divya dEsam on the banks of PeNNARu is compared to the
tasty sugarcane growing there ( PaNNA tatEshu subhaga : ) . He is as
enjoyable as the sweet sugarcane growing abundantly even today on the
banks of the PeNNARu . Swami Desikan , who had a great admiration for
Thirumangai followed the dhvani of Thirumangai's paasuram in this slOkam .
The specific reference is to the fourth paasuram on ThirukkOvalUr (2.10.4)
by Thirumangai , where he
describes first the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr as the nectar for the bhakthAs , who eulogize Him with tears of joy welling in their eyes (aangarumbi kaNNeer sorndhu anbu kUrum adiyavarkku aar amudham aanAn). Next , Thirumangai compares the three AzhwArs to the honey bees tasting
the delectable juice of the unique sugarcane standing on the banks of PeNNARu : "--kuzhAm varivandu isai padum paadal kEttu , theenkarumbu kaNN vaLarum kazhani soozhndha ThirukkOvalrathanuL kandEn nAnE " .
The dhvani in the above paasuram section of Kaliyan has been pointed out as focussed on the word "karumbu" and " kuzhAvarivandisai ". The AayanAr of ThirukkOvalUr is the sugarcane ( karumbu ) and the three prabhandhams of the mudal AzhwArs are the songs of the honey bees (kuzhAvari vandisai). That was the delectable naama sankeerthanam generated by the three AzhwArs as a result of their taste of the sweet juice of the sugarcane (AayanAr) growing on the banks of PeNNARu . The ecstacy arising from their bhakthi to the Lord , who out of His sowseelya guNam mingled with them and made them enjoy Him as " nUthana sakkarA " or fresh sugar made from the juice of that sugarcane . This nUthana sakkarA is so sweet that it ends up enhancing the natural sweetness of honey flowing from the Lord's sacred feet .
AzhwArs and AchAryAs are fond of comparing the Lord to sweet sugarcane and His lotus feet to sweet nectar . For instance , PeriyAzhwAr has compared the Lord to Kannal ( sugarcane ) and others have saluted Him as akkArakkani . AlavandhAr has saluted the nectar flowing out of the Lord's lotus feet and has asked rhetorically , how anyone that has laid his soul at Your lotus feet exuding nectar-like honey , develop a taste for anything else ?
Swami Desikan weaves the above themes in his seventh slOkam , when he refers to the Lord as Ikshu subhagan ( sweet like ripe sugarcane ). The Lord 's sowseelyam is described by Swami as "bahu rasa : " ( plenty of juice ). Vedam itself enjoys the Lord as " RasOvaisaha: " (blissabsolute).
These azhwArs ( kAsAra pUrva kavi mukyA : ) serving as the three rollers in a sugarcane crushing mill produced abundantly flowing juice ( the three hundred paasurams) , which crystallized into a sugar hill as visulaized by Swami Desikan in the first slOkam of DayA sathakam (Ikshu sravanthyA iva yanmurthyA sarkarAyitham) .
Swami Desikan refers to the ananya bhakthi of the three AzhwArs as "tvadhananya BhOgyE" echoing the question of AlavandhAr, "tavAmruthassyanthi paada pankajE nivEsithAthmA katham anyath icchathi?" The three AzhwArs enjoyed " the Bahu rasam " of the Lord's nectar-sweet feet just like the sweetness associated with the mixture of fresh sugar with honey ( Tvadh paadha padhma madhuni nUthana sarkarAthvam ) . Lord's sowseelya guNam makes the enjoyment of the Lord's nectar-like feet parama bhOgyam to the AzhwArs and through them to Swami Desikan and finally to us .
From the sloka 8 to 16 of Sri DehaLIsa sthuthi , Swami dEsikan focuses on the many beautiful aspects of the Lord's avathAram as Trivikraman. we will cover these eight slokAs as a set that deals with this theme of salutation to the many facets of this celebrated avathAram . We will cover four slokams ( 8 to 11 ) in this posting.
vairOchanE sadasi vAmana
vikrAnthi tANdava rasEna vijrumbamANa : I
chakrE bhavAn makara kundala karNa pAsa :
ssyAmaika megha bharithAmiva saptha lOkeem II
(Anvaya kramam ) : BhavAn
vairOchnE : sadasi Vaamana
bhUmikAvAn vikrAnthi tANdava rasEna vijrumbhamANa:
makara kundala karNa pAsa: saptha lOkeem ssyama
Eka megha bharithAm chakrE .
(Extended Meaning) : O
Lord of ThirukkOvalUr ! Once upon a time, you took on the role of a small
dwarf and went to Bali chakravarthi"s yAga Saalai and got as gift
three steps of land. Immediately after receiving that dhAnam , you wished
to occupy the entire universe and you accomplshed this goal in a trice
through your dancing feet of the rapidly growing TrivikramA form . Thus ,
You pervaded the seven worlds. At that time , you looked like a blue cloud
(girdle ) encircling the seven worlds. The lustre of your makra kundalams
adorning your ears shone like flashes of lighting originating from that
blue cloud of Your
subha tanu ( auspicious body ). You who expanded to enfold the seven worlds as Trivikrama are now happy to be crushed in a little space of a dEhaLi by the three bhakthAs of Yours !
Swami dEsikan states that the Lord took on the role of Vamana Brahmachari as an actor who dons a role on stage. MahA Bali, the grandson of PrahlAdhAzhwAn was a great bhakthan and parama vaidhikan. His ego drove him however to cause a lot of harm to the dEvAs. The Lord had to control him and teach him a lesson .Hence he took on the role of a kapata Vaamana brahmachAri and came to MahA Bali's yAgam .Humbly , the Lord asked the emperor Bali to deed Him three steps of land measured by his tiny steps . MahA Bali felt that the little dwarf was asking him such a trivial gift and encouraged the Vaamana BrahmachAri to ask for some thing commensurate with his status as the emperor, who had vanquished the dEvAs.
Our Lord persisted in his request for three steps of land and the unsuspecting Bali was ready to pour water on the hands of the Vamana mUrthy to seal the deed . SukrAchArya , the guru of Bali chakravarthy figured out that the dwarf was none other than Sriman NaarAyaNA standing in front as the kapata vAmanan to deprive his disciple of his empire and status. SukrAchArya protested to Bali and asked him not to consummate the requested dhAnam . The generous and proud Bali would not hear of going back on his word and went ahead with the gift and poured water on the hand of VaamanA bhagavAn and completed the deeding .
The Lord , who got His way was elated with joy and began to perform a dance , which consisted of one foot spreading over the earth as if it was measuring it ; the other foot shot upward to envelop the sky and beyond ( VikrAnthi ). The word vikrAnthi has yet anothe rmeaning beyond enveloping ; it also means heroic or valorous. This heroic vikrAnthi of a dance ended up enveloping the seven worlds just as a cloud that forms a girdle (mEkalai) around the globe. The Vaamana murthi took on the Viswa rUpam and transformed Himself into Trivikraman. His color (vaNNam) is like the dark blue cloud of the rainy season (Muhiluruvam). The Lord's makara kundalams (kundalams in the form of mythical makara) adorning His ears shone like the lightning breaking out of the blue cloud of His subhAsrayam . His form expanding and growing by leaps and bounds without let is saluted by Swami Desikan here as " vikrAnthi taaNdava rasEna vijrumbhamANa: ".
Swami Desikan has been inspired by Thirumangai Mannan's paasuram (8.1.3) on the Lord of ThirukkaNNapuram when he refers to the Lord's Makara Kundalams shooting out their radiance as lighting shafts. AzhwAr's words are : " minnu mAmaNi MAKARA KUNDALANGAL VIL VEESUM " . Swami dEsikan salutes in the spirit of Thirumangai the jyOthi of those Makara kundalams with the choice of words : " ChakrE bhavAn MAKARA KUNDALA KARNA PAASA : SSYAAMAIKA MEGHA BHARITHAAMIVA SAPTHA LOKEEM " .
In this verse , Swami dEesikan visualizes the sowlabhayam of the Lord in permitting Himself to be circumscribed and squeezed by the Mudhal AzhwArs in the space of a dEhaLi .
The slOkam is as follows:
chithram na tath thrishu
mithAni padhEshu yath thE
viswAnyamUni bhuvanAni visankatEshu I
bhakthai: samam kvachithasou bhavanaikadEsE
maathi sma mUrthiramithA tadhihadhbhudham na: II
( anvaya Kramam ) :
ViswAni amUni bhuvanAni visankatEshU
thE thrishu padhEshu mithAni yath tath na chithram amithA
asou mUrthi: bhakthai: samam kavachidh bhavana EkadEsE
mAthisma , tath iha na: adhbhutham .
( Meaning ) : O Lord of
ThirukkOvalUr ! It does not appear as a wonderous deed to us, when You
transformed Yourself as TrivikramA and brought the entire universe under
Your three steps ; but , what fills us with awe and wonder is what You did
on a rainy night at the small space of a dEhaLi in ThirukkOvalUr . Then ,
You let Your gigantic body spanning the entire universe get squeezed in
between the three AzhwArs,
who themselves were pressed against each other in the tight space of the dEhaLi of Mrugandu muni's aasramam .
Steeped in adhbhutha rasam , Swami dEsikan reflects on the form of Trivikraman that grew to cosmic size compressing itself to enter the tiny space occupied tightly by the three bhakthAs of His at the dEhaLi. In that mood of wonder (adhbhutham) , the erstwhile act of the Lord sweeping the sky and earth with two strides of His pales into insignificance in the mind of our AchAryA .
bhakthapriya tvayi tathA
mukthA vithAna vithathis tava pUrvamAseeth I
hArAvaLi: paramathO rasanA kalApa:
tArA gaNas tadhanu mowkthika nUpura sree: II
Here, Swami dEsikan is
till awe struck over the adhbhutham that happened at the tiny dEhaLi at
ThirukkOvalUr. The thought of the Lord , who expanded in all eight
directions to pervade the universe shrinking now to a tiny form to squeeze
Himself , fills the mind of Swami Desikan and he once again reflects on
that viswa rUpam of the Lord as Trivikraman. He concludes that it is the
bhaktha vaatsalyam of the Viswa rUpi that made Him take the tiny from to
enter the crowded dEhaLi
to be near His dear ones.
Swami addresses DehaLeesan and says: Bhaktha priya ! tvayi tathA parivartdhamAnE , tArA gaNa : pUrvam tava mukthA vithAna vithathi: aaseeth ; param hAra aavaLi : athO rasanA kalApa: (aaseeth ); tadhanu mowkthika: nUpara sree: ( aaseeth ) .
(meaning) : O Lord who loves Your devotees ! When You grew as Trivikrama to measure the worlds with your expanding steps , different scenarios presented themselves before the eyes of those , who were blessed to witness that wonderous scene .
During the first stage , as Your head shot upward , the assembly of stars looked like a celestial canopy ( VithAnam ) ; As you continued to grow and pierced that canopy , the assembly of stars appeared like a pearl necklace around Your beautiful neck .
You went on growing. At the next stage, the cluster of stars decended down to the level of Your waist and there they took on the role of Your waist band. Your TrivikramA form grew further and now the assembly of stars were at the level of Your ankle. There they appeared as resplendent nUpurams (ankle ornaments). Such was Your viswa rUpam, where the sky hung at the level of your ankles. Is it n' t a miracle that You of such gigantic form shrank Yourself to a form that fitted in the narrow space of a dEhaLi because of your affection for Your bhakthAs ?
In his dasAvathAra sthOthram , Swami Desikan has saluted the gigantic strides of Lord Trivikraman as " Traivikrama: vikrama: na avathu ). Swami's mind starts with the Lord's thirumudi (crown) and ends at the sacred feet . He sees around those feet the sky (canopy with bejewelled stars ) serving as the silambhus ( NUParams ) . Swami visualizes that limitless form of the Lord as TrivikramA transforming itself to a tiny from to fit the proportions of the dEhaLI to be close to his parama bhakthAs .
krishNAjinam yavanikAm kruthavAn priyAyA : I
vyakthAkruthEstava sameekshya bhujAntharE thaam
thvAmEva Gopanagareesa janA vidhusthvAm II
(Meaning) : O Lord of Gopa Puri ! When You took on the role of prathama Asramam ( Celibiate ) that is required to seek bhikshA (alms) , You created a curtain (yavanikA) of krishNAjinam ( maan thOl or the skin of a black antelope worn by brahmachAris ). You created that curtain to hide Your consort MahA Lakshmi residing forever on Your chest . When You transformed into Trivikrama rUpam and revealed Your real self , then all the witnesses of the scene were blessed to have the darsanam of Your consort , who with Her svaym-jyOthi makes Your chest region resplendent ( MaanAtheetha prathitha vibhavAm mangaLam mangaLAnAm , VAKSHA: PEETEEM MADHUVIJAYINO BHUSHAYANTHEEM SVAKAANTHYAA ) . When the blessed ones saw Your splenderous form as TrivikramA with the SrEyOmUrthy , MahA Lakshmi on Your vakshasthalam , then they had no doubt about your nature as Lakshmipathi and Sriman NaarAyaNan .
Here , Swami dEsikan salutes MahA lakshmi , who is never without Him . NammAzhwAr's paasura line, " ahalahillEn yenru AlarmEl mangai urai mArbhA " must have come to Swami's mind . He has pointed out to us in one of his MummaNikkOvai verse that MahA Lakshmi takes an appropriate form to accompany Her Lord in every one of His avathArams. The situation during His avathAram as a Vaamana BrahmachAri is a ticklish one . He is a celibiate and is supposed to be unmaaried ; at the same time , He could not be without Sri Devi . He solved the problem by hiding Her under the krishNAjinam (deer skin) attached to His sacred thread . As a kapata Vaamanan , he played this trick to " assert " His "Brahmacharyam" .
The Lord and His consort are an inseparable pair as Swami has acknowledged in Sri Sthuthi : " nishprathyUha praNaya gatitham Devi nithya anapAyam , VishNusthvam cha ithi anavadhi guNam DHVANDHVAM ANYONYA LAKSHYAM " . Here , Swami has revealed that this extraordinary couple can be understood only through each other and are united by the immeasurable bond of love for each other and therefore are inseparable even for a second from each other . Hence there is no way for MahA Lakshmi to be separated from Her Lord or for the Lord to be unaccompanied by Her even if He has to take on the role as a BrahmachAri during VamanAvathAram .
Swami explains in another slOkam of Sri Sthuthi that MahA Lakshmi takes on appropriate avathArams to accompany Her Lord and those different forms are like the waves driven by the wind of Her sankalpam arising from the ocean of bliss , which is Her Para Roopam in Sri Vaikuntam :
yasyAm gacchanthi udhaya
vilayai : nithyam aanandha sindhou
icchA vegha ullasitha laharee vibramam VYAKTHAYASTHE
Vyakthathaya: refers to Her incarnations to accompany the Lord during His different avathArAs. In the last posting , I covered Slokams 8 to 11. In this posting , I will cover the ones from 12-16 .The latter five slokams continue to cover the many aspects of the unimaginable beauty of Sri DehaLeesan.
sathkurvathAm tava padham
padhOdhakam cha sirasA vahathAm Sivathvam I
yEkathra vikramaNa karmaNi tath dhvayam thE
DEhaLyadheesa yugapath prathitham pruthivyAm II
(Meaning) : O DehaLeesa ! When You grew upward as Trivikramaa , Brahma dEvan offered paadhyam (water offered respectfully to wash the feet of revered ones ) to Your sacred feet and became blessed . Siva perumAn received the waters used to wash Your feet ( GangA) on His head and became equally blessed . Today , those who worship You as the one who appeared at the DehaLi of ThirukkOVilUr and carry on their head the water used for Your Thirumanjanam , they gain the combined advantages gained by Brahma Devan and Lord SivA at the same moment .
( Comments ) : Swami Desikan uses sledai or double meaning , when he uses the words ChathurAnan and Sivan . ChathurAnan can mean either the four-faced Brahma or chathura--Ananan (one who can speak cleverly, with chAthuryam) . Sivan can mean Rudran or Auspiciousness (Sivam).
Swami says that those , who worship the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr attain instantly the blessings that ChathurAnan and Sivan attained by offering paadhyam to the Lord's sacred feet and receiving that paadhyam water (GangA) on His head . Swami says that the bhagyasaalis on earth attain ChathurAnanathvam and Sivathvam together thru their worship of the DehaLeesan's sacred feet at ThirukkOvalUr . SIMULTANEOUSLY , those puNyavAns attain the state of Siva and ChathurAnanA as opposed to receiving such blessings thru separate acts (i-e) ., one washed the Lord's sacred feet and the other received those sacred waters that emanated as AkAsa GangA on His Jatai .
In one of his Naanmughan ThiruvandhAthi , Thirumazhisai AzhwAr describes the offer of paadhyam by BrahmA from his kamandalu theertham and Lord Siva receiving that fast moving torrent of GangA on His matted hair to protect the worlds from damage of its powerful descent :
kuRai kondu Naanmuhan
kundikai neer peythu
maRai konda manthiratthAl vAzhthi --kaRai konda
kandatthAn senni mElERakkazhuvinAn
andatthAn sevadiyai aangu
Thirumazhisai visualizes BrahmA pouring water on the upward moving foot of the Lord as it passed thru his abode , Satya Lokam , to the accompaniment of Veda Mantrams. He visualizes next Lord Sivan blocking those torrential and free-falling waters by receiving them on His densely matted locks of hair . AzhwAr says that both BrahmA and Lord Sivan offered thus their woship to TrivikramaavathAran .
A great Swami Desika BhakthA , Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar sums up the message of this slOkam this way : " O DehaLyadheesA ! You who were once a TrivikramA of Cosmic proportions now revel in confining Yourself to a small DehaLi . Even so , On those who worship You , You confer the boons of Simultaneous ChathurAnanathvam and Sivathvam. "
BHAKTHPARODHA SAHA PAADHA
MANDAAKINI VIGALITHAA MAKARANDHA DHAARAA i
SADHYAS TRIVARGHA APAVARGAMAPI KSHARANTHEE
PUNYAA BHABHUVA PURA SAASANA MOWLIMAALAA II
( Extended Meaning ) : O Bhaktha uparOdha saha ! O Lord who put up with the tight squeeze caused by the mudal aazhwArs ! When you grew as Trivikramaa and shot up towards the brahmAndam , Your sacred feet travelled past the BrahmA's world (Sathya Lokam). There, Your son , BrahmA worshipped those holy feet with the waters from his kamandalu and performed Thirumanjanam. The sanctified waters of that abhishEkam was borne by Lord Siva on His head like the holy garland to purifying His head. Those waters of AkAsa ganga were then released by Lord Siva and they flowed like the flood made up of honey (PuNyA mandhAkini makarandha dhaarA). Anyone, who bathes in these sacred waters reaps the benefits of dharmam , artham and kaamam . Such a bath in the waters associated with your holy feet cleanses the minds of the bathers and blesses them to perform SaraNAgathi at Your feet and gain mokshAnugraham. O Lord ! how magnificient indeed is the glory of Your CharaNAravindhams ?
Swami Desikan visualizes the crush experiened by the Lord's lotus feet resulting in the flow of makarandha -dhArA . In the seventh slOkam , Swami had suggsted that the Lord was being squeezed by the AzhwArs like a sugarcane bundle to yield sugar juice. It has also been pointed out that PeNNAr flowing at ThirukkovalUr is the honey-river flowing out of the Lord's lotus feet . PeyAzhwAr has visualized this scene of what happened at Sathya lokam and provided the inspiration for Swami Desikan. The paasuram section of PeyAzhwar is as follows :
neerErArkku alar mElOn kaal kazhuva ,
Gangai neer kaanra kazhal
AzhwAr sums up before his
mind's eye the picture of Kapata Vaamanan receiving water on his little
hands to solemnize the gift of three feet of land ( Ankai neer yERRarkku )
and his transformation into Trivikramn
to measure the sky and receiving there the paadhyam from his son seated on the lotus ( alar mElOn ) .
vikrAnthi kethu patikA
padha vaahini thE
nyancchanthyupaithi natha jeevitha simsumAram I
outthAnapaadhim amruthAmsum aseetha bhaanum
hemAchalam Pasupathim himavantham Urveem II
(Extended Meaning) : O Lord who has Your dear devotees as Your life ! You conquered the worlds back from MahA Bali. The river Ganga that flowed from your feet and travelling thru the majestic ,golden HimAlayAs became like the waving flag symbolizing Your victory . Those holy waters reached first the cosmic sphere of SimsumAra chakram and next in order to Dhruva mandalam , Chandra mandalam , Surya Mandalam , the Meru mountain , Lord Siva"s head at Kailas on the HimAlayAs and finally reached this earth . Thus GangA nadhi spreads the glorious victory of Yours over Bali chakravarthy all over Your worlds .
The torrential , white waters of Ganga at the upper reaches of HimalayAs is indeed like a fast fluttering flag as it decends to the gorges and reaches to the plains . This similie of the flowing GangA as a flag fluttering in the winds is a beautiful one. The choice of the word " natha Jeevitha " in this verse has been pointed out as reference to the three AzhwArs , who stood before the Lord with bent heads and prostrated before Him. He is the Natha Sathyan and melts before anyone holding anjali mudrA. Such is His bhaktha DaakshiNyam.
veda kamandalu jalair
paadhAmbhujam prathidinam prathipadhyamAnA I
STHOTHRA PRIYA ! thripathagAdhi sarith varaaNAm
paNNA bhabhUva bhuvanE bhaumAna paathram II
(Exteded Meaning) : O
Lord who is easily pleased by the eulogies of Your bhakthAs ! Your Holy
feet has been the object of worship by BrahmA's kamandalu waters .
PeNNAr is flowing right next to those thiruvadis all the time. Compared to the river GangA , which had association with Your holy feet once , this lucky PeNNAr has perrineal contact with Your Lotus feet and is blessed therefore many times over GangA river.
The river PeNNAr and its bhaagyam is saluted here. She is in contact with the Lord's feet (prathi dinam prathipadhyamAnA). PeNNAr in Sanskrit is referred to as KrishNabhadrA because of its holiness.
Swami Desikan , who has coined many new names for the Lord of ThirukkOvalUr such as DehaLeesan , BhakthOpamardasahan chose here an ancient name found in Sri VishNu shasra naama : " SthOthra Priyan " (sthava priyan) . Sri Parasara Bhattar's commentary on this Naamam is apprpriate to recall here :
" YathA kadhamchith
, Yatha KadhAcith bhAshayA
yEnakEnApi GuNasankeerthanaabhimAnEna kriyamANa:
STHAVA: svavishaya PRIYATAMA: yasya "
This eulogy (sthOthram) can be in any language , it can be occasional , it can be from anywhere . The Lord responds with great joy at this attempted praise by His bhakthAs and rushes to bless them .
In this verse , Swami
Desikan celebrates the advent
of the Three ThiruvanthAdhis by the Mudhal AzhwArs .
sthOthrathrayam yadhabhavath tava paadhapadhmAth I
vEthALa BhUtha SarasAm apadisya vAcham
peAyENa tath prasava bhUmim avApa bhUya : II
( Extended Meaning ) : O
Lord DehaLeesA ! The flood of sacred waters that flowed out of Your own
sankalpam from Your uplifted feet branched off into three divisions and
reached dEva lokham , Manushya Lokham and
the nether world . Those three streams then took on the form of the three thiruvandhAthis associated with Poygai , BhUtham and pEy aazhwAr and finally returned to Your sacred feet . Swami suggests that they started liek Ganga at His sacred feet and returned to them.
The triple stream of GangA ( srOthAsthrayam ) is compared here to the three floods of divine utterances that emanated from the three aazhwArs. The Lord's celebrated feet , the origin of GangA in TrivikramAvathAram , is the goal of the parama bhakthAs assembled in the DehaLi of ThirukkOvalUr sthOthra priyan .
The unanimity of thought and purpose of the three AzhwArs is compared to the three branches of the same river ( srOthasthrayam ) . The tradition is to enjoy these three prabhandhams in unison. They have the tatthva trayam with the extraordinary beginnings, which are echoes of one another :
Vyaam tahaliyA , AnbE tahaLiyA and ThirukkanDEn .
Similarly , Tattva , Hitha and PurushArtham , another triad , is connected to the AzhwAr's Parabhakthi , Paraj~nAnam and Parama Bhakthi. Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengaar points out this connectivity and reminds us that these andhAthis are affectionately named " VyatthandhAthi , AnbhandhAthi and ThiruvandhAthi " .
Sri D.R IyengAr also speculates that Kumaara VaradAchAr , the son of Swami Desikan might have been inspired by this verse to consider Srimadh Rahasya Thraya Saaram of his AchAryA as " sthOthra Trayam " :
VishNupaadha SamudhbhavAm I
Rahasya thraya sArAkhyam thrisrOthasamakalamashAm II
He salutes his father's ( AchAryA's ) magnum opus as originating like the GangA with the three branches ( the three andhAthis of Mudal AzhwArs ) from the sacred feet of Sriman VishNU NaarAyaNan .
In the remainig twelve slOkAs , Swami Desikan describes the Lord lifting the three AzhwArs to His Parama Padham and then requests the Lord to grant him a similar boon of nithya kaimkaryam at Sri VaikunTam.
We will continue with the 17th to 22nd slokam in this posting . In the 17 th slOkam , Swami Desikan refers to the Lord's special blessings to the Mudal AzhwArs. The slOkam is a s follows :
aarAdhakhAn anuparOdham udhanchayishyan I
thAmrENa paadha nakarENa tathA anda madhyE
ghanDApatham kamapi noonam avarthayasthvam II
( Extended Meaning ) : O Lord of ThirukkOvalUr ! You are always fond of sporting with Your adiyArs. You joined the three devotees of Yours at the small space of a DehaLI and squeezed them . They experienced You , saw You and eulogised with the most exquisite paasurams . You were naturally very pleased . You wanted to confer special boons on them and decided to create a broad highway for them to travel without congestion as in the archirAdhi maargam . It appears that the effulgence of the nails of Your uplifted foot radiated far and wide as though to serve as the broad raaja maargam for their travel to Your parama padham.
The Lord seemed to make amends for playing games on His aarAdhakAs by squeezing them tightly at the small space of a dEhaLI. He decided to create a king's highway marked by the red lustre of His toe-nails.
kshiptha: svakELi tarasA tava DehaLeesa I
tathsanthathE: ubhayathA vithathim bhajanthyA :
samsAra dhAva dahanam samayath asEsham II
(extended Meaning) : O Lord of the DehaLI ! Your daya is an infinite ocean . It is enough even a small drop from that limitless ocean to fall on the chethanA , who is sinking in the quick sand of perishable worldly pleasures. That pitiable state arises from their avivEkham. When the droplet of Your DayA falls on the ChEthanA , that expands into the many branches of Bhakthi and Prapatthi as UpAyams. That drop will grow as the wild fire and burn away the samSaric afflictions of that chEthanA . Thus a chEthanA spoiled by his overpowering worldly desires quells the fierce forest -fire of SamsArA .
Swami Desikan goes out of his way to assure that the Lord's dayA is available not only to the mudhal AzhwArs , but also to every one wallowing in samsArA . The tiniest particle of His mercy splits into the two upAyams --Bhakthi and Prapatthi -- and banishes our samsAric afflictions.
Swami prays here for the Lord's grace to uplift him from the terror of SamsArA . He reminds the Lord ( Naathan ) that He is all powerful (Saarvabhouman ) and He should lift him up with His own hands like the emperor coming to the rescue of a little bird that has fallen from its nest . The slOkam with its tender appeal is as follows:
thrANEna Naatha viharanniva Saarvabhouma: I
aadhAya GopanagarAdhipathE svayam maam
kreeDA dhayA vyathikarENa kruthArThaya thvam II
(Extended Meaning) : O GopanagareesA ! O Lord ! When the emperor sees during his travel thru the forest a little parrot that fell off from its mother's nest , he lifts it up playfully , restores it to the comfort of its nest and plays with it . He does not think about his superior rank at that time . O Prabhu ! Thou should in a similar fashion lift me up with your own hands imbued with a sense of play and mercy and make my life a fruitful one .
Swami Desikan asks the Lord to lift him up from the samsAra BhUmi to which he has fallen in a spirit of mercy. He begs for the Lord's daya and mercy to come to his rescue and make him realize the purpose of being born as a human being (i-e)., to worship Him and reach His parama padham .
In this slOkam . Swami Desikan begs the Lord to give him a hand so that His consort will be pleased over His act of dayA . The slOkam is as follows:
leelA sakunthamiva maam
svairam kshipan dhuritha panjarathO guNastham I
tath thAthrusam kamapi Gopapuree vihArin
santhOsham ullaLaya Saagara sambhavAyA : II
Swami says here that the Lord should not rescue him out of His dayA for him , but to please the Lady , who came out of the milky Ocean and married Him . Swami describes his state as one of extremely limited movement , since he is tightly bound by the ropes of the three guNaas. He appeals to the Lord to treat him like He would treat the parrot with which He plays and lift him up to parama padham after freeing him from the cage of sins.
Swami has a clever appeal here to the Lord. Please do not do it for me , but think of the joy of Your consort , when She witnesses Your act of kindness to me , Her son . She will be overjoyed at your display of dayA . Please release me from the cage of sins and release me out of your own sankalpam in a sportive mood and fill the heart of Your consort with joy says Swami Desikan .
Swami DEsikan continues to appeal fervently to rescue from the trammels of samsArA in this and the subsequent verses:
vaathUla kalpa vrujina
vaiyAkuleem vishaya sindhu taranga bhangai : I
dAsOpamardha saha dhurnirasAm tvadhanyai :
anveekshya gAtam anukampithum arhasi thvam II
( Extended Meaning ) : O Lord , who bore with the pressure of your true devotees at a small space ! I am one , who has accumulated unlimited sins. Just as the winds of a cyclone grows the waves of the ocean to great heights , my bundle of sins become larger and larger as a result of the enjoyment of the worldly pleasures . As a result , my mind is in an agitated state . Fully knowing that there is no one except You , who could banish my fear and restore my tranquility , please come to my rescue ! .Taking note of my pitiable state , please shower Your nectar of mercy on me and save me !
O Lord ! I am being tossed from here to there and all over by the huge waves of the ocean of stormy samsArA . My state is like the dire one described by NammAzhwAr before :
aavArAr thuNai yenru alai
naavAi pOl pravikkadaluL ninru naan thuLanga
Sri D.Ramaswami IyengAr's decription of the state of Swami Desikan is moving : " You , my Lord , know very well that except You no one can help me ; no one else can dry out the sea , whose waves are tossing me thus . See with Your own eyes my desparate plight and come to my rescue . Pray extend your intense daya , which includes Grace , Mercy , Compassion , Sympathy and such other similar sentiments ."
dEhaLyadheesa dhrushathOpi vilApayantheem I
NaathE saamgra sakanE tvayi jAgarUkE
kim thE sahEtha karuNA karuNAmavasthAm II
(Meaning) : O Lord of ThirukkOvalUr ! My sorrowful state characterized by my bundle of sins continues. Even the stones will melt, when they take note of my helpless state. All those who see me will surely be moved by my sufferings. You are the all powerful SarvEsvan . You are witnessing this too ! How can Your karuNA bear with the continuation of this state of mine ? Your Daya will surely come to my rescue. When You are alert to my sufferings , how can Your DayA dEvi stay quite ?
This slOkam has been
recognized by the students of Swami Desikan 's works to be one of the most
moving pleas by him to the Lord . He describes his sins as sadhA mayi
jAyamAnam or those which keep growing in me . Sri D.R Swami compares the
avasthA of Swami Desikan to that of NammAzhwAr , when he declares , "
Poyi ninra j~nanamum , pollA ozhukkum
azhukkudambhum " . NammAzhwAr goes on to describe his state as one that the Lord alone can comprehend and as being impossible to describe (inninra nErmai).
Swami Desikan describes further his state as the one at which even the stones will lament on sight ( dhrushathOpi vilApayantheem ) . Sri D.R. Swami recalls NammAzhwAr and Kamban 's descriptions in this context.NammAzhwAr declared: " MarangaLum irangum vahai MaNivaNNa ! Oh ! " > Kamban described the unimaginable sorrow of Bharathan over the despicable deed of his mother and calls BharathA as " kal kaniya kanihinra thuyarAn " ( One who melts away in grief of a magnitude that will make even stones melt ) .
After this overpowering statement about his state of sorrow , Swami Desikan looks up at DehaLeesan and recognizes that the Lord is all powerful , most compassionate and fully aware of his sufferings . He begins to wonder how the Lord's Daya can be held under control. He cries out : " Your DayA will certainly not put up with this condition of mine " . He is consoled by the thoughts of KurEsa under similar straits that made him declare : tvadh j~nana sakthi karuNAsu satheeshu nEha paapam parAkramithum arhathi maamakeenAm " . KurEsa says here : " My sins should not get the upper hand as long as your J~nAnam , sakthi, and Dayaa are all in tact and safe " . KurEsa nudges the Lord and reminds Him of His capabilities lest He forgot .
Swami Desikan follows the path of AzhwArs and remembers that the sakthi alone of the Lord without His karuNA will not be of much use in rescuing the suffering ones .
His SaraNAgatha rakshakthvam can come into full play, only when His sakthi and DayA ride in tandem . As the supreme being , it is His duty to protect us and we have no other refuge as reminded by AzhwAr : KaLaivAi thunbham kaLaiyAthu ozhiyAyai kaLaikaNN maRRilEn "