Sriman venkatanatharya kavitarkika kesari |
Vedantacharyavaryome sannidattam sadahruti ||
This sloka is about the well renowned Swami Vedanta Desika. Many Acharyas appeared in Sri Vaishnava sampradhyam and made us to understand saranagati shastra [philosophy of ultimate surrender शरनागति शास्त्र ]. Among them Swami Vedanta Desika has a special place. We have come to the place where he was born. We are at Thiruthanka [திருத் தண்கா], in Kanchi mandalam of Thondai Nadu [தொண்டை நாடு]. The Lord here is Sri Deepaprakasa [ஸ்ரீ தீபப் பிரகாசர்], and in the nearby place Thoopul [தூப்புல்], Swami Vedanta Desika was born. Today's [27th October 2008] lecture is from the house, where he was born. He was born as the child of Anantasuri [அனந்தசூரி ] and Thodaramba [தோதாரம்பா] in 1268-69. Thoopul means sacred grass - dharbha தர்ப்பை - used in all religious activities, like homa and yagna. Dharbha was grown here. He lived for 100 years in this world. But the amount of services he had rendered in 100 years, are so much that others could not have done even in 1000 years. He laernt from his parents, from his maternal uncle Swami Kidambi Appullar [கிடாம்பி அப்புள்ளார்] and from Swami Nadathur Ammal [நடாதூர் அம்மாள்] in Kanchi. From an early age he became an Acharya and fostered the Ramanuja sampradhayam. He had a title sarvatantra swatantrar [सर्वतंत्र स्वतंत्र]. That is, he knew all arts and could predict happenings. Many had been defeated by him in logic debates. He also had title kavi-tarkika simham [कवि तार्किक सिहं]. He was a lion among poets. Among logicians he was a lion. He was also called as Swami Vedantacharya and Swami Nigamanta Mahadesika. Vedantacharya means, he was knowledgeable in Vedanta and taught others. Nigamanta means vedanta and he was a great teacher [maha desika] in that. He wanted to explain clearly saranagati or prapatti [ப்ரபத்தி] or nyasa [ந்யாச]. For this he composed Four stotrams. They are Nyasa Dasakam, Nyasa Vimsati, Nyasa Tilakam and Saranagati Deepika. Nyasa Dasakam, praises Lord Sri Varadaraja. In Nyasa Tilakam, Lord Sri Ranganatha was praised. Saranagati Deepika is in praise of Lord Sri Deepaprakasa or Sri Vilokkoli Perumal [ஸ்ரீ விளக்கொளி பெருமாள்]of this place. He lived here and did all his daily ablutions in the large well [நடவாபி natavapi] behind and would visit the temple of Sri Varadaraja for worship. Even now Sri Varadaraja, on Five occasions in a year, arrives at this place and graces Swami Vedanta Desika. We could see his ancestral house and worship his idol in the adjacent sannidhi. Right hand is in upadesa mudra and left hand is holding palm leave scripts [ஓலைச் சுவடி]. We can also worship Lord Sri Hayagriva, Who was worshiped by Swami Desika. Swami Desika's idol here was established by his son, Swami Nayanaracharya [நயினாராசாரியார்]. Swami Desika had composed many stotrams, many rahasya granthas [intricate subjects], great works like Yadavabhyudaya and Paduka sahasram, many philosophical works, drama, commentary on Srimad Ramayana, on Alwar's pasurams, etc., and had helped the sampradayam in a big way.
Now we will se sloka 21 in Chapter 11:
ami hi tvam sura-sangha vishanti
kecid bhitah pranjalayo grnanti
svastity uktva maharsi-siddha-sanghah
stuvanti tvam stutibhih puskalabhih
"All the hosts of demigods are surrendering before You and entering into You. Some of them, very much afraid, are offering prayers with folded hands. Hosts of great sages and perfected beings, crying “All peace!” are praying to You by singing the Vedic hymns."
Arjuna further exclaims at the numerous Devas, Rishis and Siddhas worshiping the Lord. This sloka as well as the earlier ones give us the impression that many, apart from Arjuna, were viewing the Viswaroopam. Ami hi = all these, sura-sangha = groups of Devas, vishanti = are nearing, tvam = You [Sri Krishna]. Many Devas seeing the Viswaroopam, are arriving to worship. Kecid = [among those nearing] some are, bhita = with fear, pranjalaya = folded hands, grnanti = praise [the Lord]. Among the many Devas arriving to see the Viswaroopam of the Lord, some are praising the Lord with fear and folded hands [in respect]. Maharsi = great sages, siddha = accomplished persons, sangha= in groups, svasti uktva = shouting 'long live' [பல்லாண்டு], stuti = praising words, pushkalabhi = replete [with praise], stuvanti = praising. Rishis and Siddhas are chanting words replete with praise of the Lord. We find from the sloka that many are viewing the Viswaroopam. Many Devas are approaching the Lord in Viswaroopam. Among such Devas, some are with fear and folded hands, praising the Lord. But, Sages and Siddhas are als approaching the Lord, without any fear. This indicates that Devas are inferior to Maharishis and Siddhas. By Devas, is meant Devas like Indra, Kubera, Varuna,etc. Maharishis means sages like Brghu, Kashyapa, Vasishta, etc. Siddhas indicate lord Brahma's sons like Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Sanatsujata and Sanathana. They all have realized the Lord and so have no fear in nearing Him. Devas on the other hand, come to the Lord only when they need His help and remain indifferent at other times; and being selfish, they approach Him with fear. A doubt might arise here and this is clarified by both Swami Ramanuja and Swami Desika in Tatparya Chandrika. Only Arjuna was gifted by the Lord to view Viswaroopam. How then Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas also could view Viswaroopam? Were they also gifted with divine eyes? Or, is it possible, that these groups did not see Viswaroopam? Yes, these people -Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas- also saw the Viswaroopam; otherwise they would not be in fear to approach Him; nor, would they be praising Him. Therefore, they were also gifted with divine eyes, by the Lord. But why there is no mention to this effect in the sloka? Arjuna was gifted with the special eyes, so that he could realize the eminence of the Lord. It is not enough if Arjuna alone was able to see and appreciate the greatness of the Lord. He should realize that the greatness of the Lord is being realized by all others like Devas, Maharishis and Siddhas. He should realize that the entire Universe paid obeisnce to the Lord. It is practical that our regard or respect increases manifold, if we know others also have same regard or respect, to any person. Svasti is wishing for long life. Maharishis and Siddhas have great love for the Lord and in their anxiety that nothing bad should occur to the Lord, they shout long live, as Perialwar did when he saw the Lord in the sky. It is like a motherly care for the child [பரிவு or மங்களாசாசனம் mangalasasanam]. Jatayu, even at the last moments of his life, cried long life to Sri Rama, out of affection and care. Swami Vedanta Desika also composed many stotrams like this in praise of the Lord. Abidistavam -in praise of Sri Ranganatha, Kamasikashtakam - in praise of the Lord of Velukkai, Vegasethu stotram - in praise of the Lord of Thiruvekkha, etc., are some of them.