devanayaka panchasat

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devanayaka panchasat


The name for this stotra is based on the fifty Sloka-s (there are actually
53) that this stotra contains in praise of SrI devanAyakap-perumAL in
tiruvahIndra puram.  svAmi deSikan was very devoted to this perumAL and
stayed in this kshetra for a long time and worshiped this arcA mUrti.  We
can still find the tirumALigai where svAmi deSikan lived, and the well from
which he got his water supply.

In this stotram, for the most part (30 of the 53 Slokam-s) svAmi deSikan
describes his thoughts as he meditates on the various parts of bhagavAn's
tirumeni, starting from His kirITam all the way down to His Sacred Feet.  In
the last 8 Slokam-s, he performs SaraNAgati to deva nAyakap perumAL, and
indicates the greatness of prapatti over bhakti as the fail-proof mArgam for
attaining the bhAgyam to do nitya-kaimkaryam to Him in this world and ever

In amalanAdipirAn tiruppANAzhvAr describes Lord ranganAtha's beauty in 10
short pASuram-s starting from His Lotus Feet, and as He describes His
beautiful eyes, he is captured by His overall beauty,  and becomes one with
the Lord and does not get to describe His kirITam.  svAmi deSikan in his
bhagavad-dhyAna sopAnam in 12 Sloka-s describes Lord ra~nganAtha similarly,
starting with His tiruvaDi.  In the current stotram, svAmi deSikan has the
anubhavam of devanAthap-perumAl starting from His kirITam all the way down
to His Lotus Feet in 30 beautiful Sloka-s.  As he sees the arcA-mUrti of
bhagavAn, his thoughts are swept by all the kalyANa guNa-s of bhagavAn, and
this storam is one in which we see the poet in svAmi deSikan revealed in
Slokam after Slokam.   In every one of these Sloka-s, he reminds us of
bhagavAn-s guNa-s such as His paratvam (kirITam), His being the object of
meditation for His devotees (the sweet, smiling face), etc.

He meditates on bhagavAn's kirITam, His beautiful dark hair, face, forehead,
the Urdhva puNDram, nose, ears, ear rings, lips, eyes, eyebrows, the
kaTAksham from His eyes as it falls on us, neck, hands, the Sa~nkha and
cakra, the abhaya hastam, the vaksha sthalam, the vyjayantI garland, udaram
(stomach), the nAbhI-kamalam, the waist-band, the majestic thighs, feet, the
fingers and fingernails of His feet, the knee, the ankle, and even the dust
from His Feet.  svAmi deSikan includes in his meditation bhagavAn's mind as
part of this meditation on His divya soundaryam.  Only selected portions of
the descriptions are included below.     

The kshetra is known as brahmAcalam (Slokam 10).  The reference here is to
brahma's penance in the saugandhya vanam in this kshetra.  In Slokam 11 the
kshetra is referred to as aushadha giri - the mountain where bhagavAn who is
the Medicine that removes the piRavip-piNi - the repeated cycle of births -

There are four puNya tIrtha-s in this kshetra - Sesha tIrtha, bhUmi tIrtha,
garuDa tIrtha, and brahma tIrtha.
perumAL's tirunAmam is deva-nAyakan - God of all gods;  also known as
aDiyArkku meyyan - Truthful to His devotees - dAseshu satyah (Slokam 6);
amara adhipati - The chief of all deva-s.   One writer observes that the
first and last of the words of the stotra put together - praNata and
satyavAdI, lead to the meaning - adiyArkku meyyan.

Among the concepts that are brought to us by svAmi deSikan through this
stotra are the following:

1. BhagavAn is the Supreme God whom all the others gods worship, including
Siva and brahma (paSupati vidhi pUjyah - Slokam 1).  He is amara-adhipati -
daiva nAyakan - The Lord of all the gods (Slokam 8).

2. Our AcAryas' blessings are essential for the success of anything we do.
SrI deSikan shows us this by starting the stotram by paying obeisance to our
AcArya paramparA - starting with perumAL, and continuing with pirATTi,
vishvaksenar, nammAzhvAr, nAthamuni, SrI rAmAnujar, etc.  He continues with
his obeisance to the divine poets (vAlmIki, vyAsa etc.)., who have composed
the great works which are comparable to the veda-s (Sloka-s 2 and 3), and he
compares their works to the steps through which we can approach the Ocean of
Bhagavad-anubhavam without getting completely immersed and swept away in the
absence of these steps.  

In SrI dayA Satakam we had seen the similar concepts presented to us in
Slokam 2 (vigAhe tIrtha bahulAm ...), Slokam 3 (dhatte yat-sUkti
rUpeNa...),and Slokas-s 4 to 10 (AcArya paramparA dhyAnam).
3. pirATTi's purushakAratvam is brought out in Slokam 4.  Our Divine
Mother's recommendation or support is essential for us to reach bhagavAn. 

4. BhagavAn is aDiyavarkku meyyan (dAseshu satya iti nAmadeyam - Slokam 6) -
One who fulfils the wishes of His devotees without exception.  

5. BhagavAn is also a stava-priyan - One who likes being praised.   In
Slokam 7, svAmi deSikan refers to three of bhagavAn's guNa-s that are all
referenced in the same Slokam in SrI vishNu sahasranAma stotram  - stavyah,
stava-priyah and stotA. 

6. Our indestructible association with bhagavAn is beautifully described by
svAmi deSikan in Slokam 8.  It is like a wealthy person getting a bird for
his sport, tying a rope around its leg, letting it fly freely for some time,
and then getting the bird back to him in the end.  BhagavAn is so Merciful
towards us that even though He ties us in samsAra bandham and we try to fly
as far away from Him as we wish, He gets us back to Him in the end and saves

      7.  The behavior of most of us in this world is very nicely portrayed
by poet svAmi deSikan in Slokam 9.  Just as a person who is scorched by
thirst may chase any mirage - false appearance of a source of water -
without being able to quench his thirst, we all chase the worldly
impermanent temporary pleasures thinking these are what will give us real
happiness.  But when the thirsty individual ultimately finds a real source
of cool water, he immerses heartily in this and has the real quenching of
his tApam.  So also, it is only when we find Him that our real thirst will
be quenched. 

8. In another poetic display, svAmi deSikan succinctly describes the para,
vyUha, vibhava, arcA, and antaryAmi forms of bhagavAn in one short Slokam
(Slokam 10), when he refers to the different places where bhagavAn dwells.
BhagavAn resides in SrI vaikunTham (divye pade), tirup-pAR-kaDal
(jala-nidhau), in the hearts of sAdhu-s as their antaryAmi (satAm svAnte),
in the middle of the sUrya maNDala (savtr*-maNDala madhya bhAge), and in
arcA form in brahmAcala kshetra - tiruvaindra puram, and of course in other
divya kshetra-s.

9. BhagavAn is the aushadham that cures the devotees who surrender to Him
from the disease of the cycle of birth - piRavip-piNi  - nata-janasya bhava
aushdham (Slokam 11).  

10. The puNya tIrtha-s in the divya kshetra-s are capable of removing the
sins and fulfilling the desires of those who take a dip in them with
devotion - vr*jina, durgati, nASanArhaih tIrthaih (Slokam 11).

11. The greatness and importance of purusha sUktam is explicitly mentioned
by svAmi deSikan in Slokam 15.  The purusha sUktam (tava sUktam-agryam)
which describes the creation of the world by Him starting with the creation
of brahmA, occurs in all four veda-s, and was revered by the likes of vyAsa
mahA-muni (vyAsAdibhir-bahumatam).

Among the great kalyANa guNa-s of bhagavAn that svAmi deSikan has flowing
through his mind as he meditates on bhagavAn's tirumeni, a few are given

 1. The dIpti or prakASam emanating from His kirITam excels the jyoti that
can result from 1000 Suns shining simultaneously.  This prakASam removes the
aj~nAnam from the minds of His devotees, and at the same time proclaims to
the world His paratvam or Supremacy over all the other devatA-s
(deveSvaratvam - Slokam 16). 

2. The sweet soothing natural smile in bhagavAn's face which shines like the
full moon in the background of His curly dark hair which resembles the
night, sets the ideal scene for meditation on Him and can remove all
afflictions resulting from samsAra (Slokam 17).  The natural beauty of
bhagavAn's face with His beautiful red lips and lotus-like eyes is further
enhanced by the added decoration of His golden ear-rings which shed light on
this beautiful face, creating an atmosphere which rejoices the devotee's
mind (Slokam 18).  The Urdhva-puNDram on bhagavAn's forehead looks like a
streak of lightning (except it is not transcient light lightning),
illuminating the dark-blue beauty of His forehead, or like an auspicious
dIpam that has been lit for the purpose of removing the aj~nAna in the minds
of the devotees who meditate on this (Slokam 20).  

3. Nothing about bhagavAn is for His own Self, and everything He has is for
the benefit of His devotees.  Thus, even His tiruc-cevi-s  are only for
constantly being on the alert to listen to the pleadings from His devotees
and rush to help them (Slokam 21).

4. When svAmi deSikan looks at bhagavAn's beautiful eyes, he is reminded of
the just-blossomed beautiful lotus flowers.  They express the happiness that
He gets when He sees His devotees.  They look like they are doing kuSala
praSnam - enquiring the well-being and safety of His devotees.  When His
eye-sight falls on us, it makes us feel like we have just been drenched by
the shower of soothing nectar on us, and it relieves us of all our tApa-s -
both of the body and the mind. 

5. svAmi deSikan continues to have his great anubhavam of bhagavAn's
tirumeni which spills out in superb poetry by describing His makara
(fish-shaped) kuNDalam, His beautiful eyebrows which can bring anyone under
their sway and which must have served as the model which brahma used to
create the bow that manmathan uses to bring people under his sway, His
beautiful Divine Eyes which resemble the Milk-Ocean which can bestow
anything the devotee wishes for and which look at His bhakta-s with the
compassion that is superbly soothing and comforting, His beautiful nostrils
from which the veda-s emanated, etc., and ultimately starts describing
bhagavAn's appearance with the Sa~nkha, cakra, etc. in His Divine hands.
While the abhaya mudra in His right hand indicates His ever being ready to
protect those who surrender to Him, the Sa~nkha and cakra in His other hands
just keep reassuring the prapanna that any enemy to His devotee will be
severely dealt with (Sloka-s 30 and 31). 

6. As svAmi deSikan is describing devanAyakap perumAL's rUpa soundaryam, he
is reminded of the purusha sUkatam declaration - candramA manaso jAtah, and
describes bhagavAn's manas whose attributes are limiltless:  in addition to
being the birthplace of all the different moons that are created during each
cycle of creation, His Mind reflects the qualities of the moons that have
their origin there.   Meditating on this Mind of His gives us the light that
removes our aj~nAnam (tamo-mathanam), lifts us from our shortcomings and
leads us to realization of Him (Asrita tArakam), purifies us through Its
purity (Suddham), showers His kindness on us because of Its coolness and
kindness to us (Ardram), and leads us to moksham (sumanasAm amr*tam duhAnam)
(Slokam 34).

7. When svAmi deSikan thinks of bhagavAn's udaram (stomach), he is reminded
of bhagavAn swallowing the three worlds at the time of pralaya and
protecting them inside His udaram till the start of the next cycle of
creation, and of brahma originating  from His nAbhI-kamalam as the first in
His cycle of creation after the pralaya (Slokam 35).

8. The darSanam of bhagavAn's thighs in His tirumeni immediately reminds
svAmi deSikan of purusha sUkta's "UrU tadasya yad-vaiSyah" (the vaiSya jAti
originated from His thighs).  In addition, according to the purANa-s the
beautiful UrvaSi also originated from these same thighs which also served as
the great bed where the asura kings met their final end (referring to
hiraNyakaSipu, madhu, kaiTapa, etc.) and as the head-rest for His devi-s
(Slokam 38).

9. The darSanam of His Sacred Feet (tiruvaDi) reminds svAmi deSikan of the
incident of ahalyA Sapa vimocanam, and also the incident involving bhagavAn
entering uttarA's body and giving life back to the charred ashes of
parIkshit's body by the touch of His Sacred Feet.  These are the same Feet
that are constantly served by bhU-devi and SrI-devi (Slokam 41).

bhakti vs. prapatti:

In Slokam 47, svAmi deSikan re-emphasizes the simplicity and efficacy of the
praptti mArga compared to the bhakti yoga, which we have seen over and over
again in the previous stotra-s we have covered.  Bhakti yoga requires
specialized knowledge, effort, persistence, birth in the ASrama consistent
with the required observances, etc., and is not guaranteed to bear fruit in
this birth.  On the other hand, prapatti mArga just depends on exactly the
full and unconditional recognition, realization, and acceptance of the lack
of any competency to liberate ourselves from the bondage of samsAra through
any means other than His dayA, and surrender to His Feet with this
realization as the only capital in our possession.  This is guaranteed to
bear fruit in this birth itself, with no other constraint such as the birth
etc.  If one compares the individual who pursues the bhakti yoga with one
who follows the prapatti mArga and has unconditionally surrendered the
responsibility for his soul to bhagavAn, svAmi deSikan declares that the
greatness of the former is not even one-one hundred crore part of the
greatness of the latter (Note that this statement is made to emphasize the
relative ease and greatness of prapatti mArga, and is not meant to speak low
of bhakti mArga). 

It is important for us to understand that we belong to bhagavAn, and should
always be serving Him and nothing else.  Anyone who thinks he/she is
independent is committing thievery of His property.  As His property, we
should realize that He and He alone can protect us, and surrender all
responsibility for our protection unto Him.  It is with this clear
realization that we should surrender our soul to Him (Atma samarpaNam, bhara
nyAsam, prapatti).  Even though we steal His property and assume
independence for ourselves and act as we like, the moment we realize our
great apacAram and surrender to Him, His Immense kindness towards us makes
Him accept us and give His protection (Sloma 49).

The bhAvam with which we should lead our lives and surrender to bhagavAn is
seen in Slokam 50, where svAmi deSikan appeals to bhagavAn's dayA:  "I am
the personification of aj~nAnam;  I am the foremost among sinners;  I have
violated the SAStra-s laid down by You repeatedly;  I have done nothing that
qualifies me for Your Mercy.  In fact, these are precisely my qualifications
that make me the ideal candidate for You to protect, since nothing else can
salvage me who is beyond redemption by anyone else.  You can't find anyone
better than me to offer Your protection, and so please accept me under Your
Feet and protect me!".   We have in nyAsa daSakam - nyasyAm-aki~ncana SrIman
anukUo"nya-varjitah |  viSvAsa prArthanA pUrvam Atma-rakshA bharam tvayi ||

svAmi deSikan summarizes the stotram in the last Slokam (Slokam 53),
reminding us again about the innumerable kalyAna guNa-s of bhagavAn.  He is
without any flaws, the God of all gods, the Cause of all that exists, has
existed and will exist, the Only One who can give relief from the cycle of
births, and most of all, One whose promise of protection to those who
surrender to Him is always true - niravadhi guNa-jAtam niya-nirdosham Adyam
narak mathana dakshm nAkinAm eka-nAtham vinata vishaya satyam).  

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan



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Slokam 51 Slokam 52 Slokam 53

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