வெள்ளி, 18 செப்டம்பர், 2015

Desika prabandham

ராதே கிருஷ்ணா 19-09-2015

Desika prabandham – An Introduction.

It would be beyond adiyen’s capacity to speak about the upakaram swami desikan has done to us by way of blessing us with numerous stotras, rahasya granthas, commentries and Tamil prabandhams. Swami desikan himself identifies him as “sandhamiku tamizh maraiyon thuppul thonRum vedantha guru mozhintha..” It is obvious that Swami desika takes pride in calling himself as the one who knows the tamil and divine sookthis of Azhvars.
Swami desika has blessed us with more than 20 prabandhams in tamil and most of them highlight the concepts he analysed in his terse commentries in sanskrit, tamil and mani pravala.One can easily appreciate the sweetness of these verses for its rythem,simplicity and the meanings it convey on our sampradayam.
Adiyen will attempt to provide a brief introduction of these prabandhams in few posts.The source for this write up is the tamil monograph written by SrI V.N.Rama desikachariar swamy of Oppliappan Koil. Adiyen has freely translated the article and all the errors are due to lack of understanding of adiyen and please forgive adiyen and correct me.If you find any worth in this article then the credit goes to SrI Rama desikachariar swamy.
First let us first see the list of Tamil prabandhams composed by swami desikan.
1. Amrutha ranjani
2. Adhikara sangraham
3. Amrutha swanidhi
4. Parama padha sopanam
5. Para madha pangam
6. Meyvradha or aththigiri mahatmiyam
7. Adaikkalappaththu
8. Artha panchakam
9. Sri Vaishnava dinasari
10. Thiruchchinna malai
11. Panniru namam
12. Thiru mandhira churukku
13. Dwaya churukku
14. Charama sloka churukku
15. Gitartha sangraham
16. Mummanikkovai
17. Navamani malai
18. Pandhu *
19. Kazhal *
20. Ammanai *
21. Usal *
22. Esal *
23. Prabandha saram
24. Ahara Niyamam
Out of these 24 prabandhams Pandhu, Kazhal, Ammanai, Usasl and Esal (marked *)are now extinct ie not available (luptam). We also have Pillai andhadhi, which was composed by SrI.Kumara varacharirar the son of Swamy desikan and this is also considered as part of Desika prabandham.
Now let us briefly study about the each of the above prabandham.
Amrutha ranjani:
Swami desikan has blessed us with 17 rahasya granthas in manipravala style starting from sampradaya parisuddhi to sara deepam.These rahasya granthas form first part of chillarai rahasyas meaning that they are small granthas in size and they are different from major works like Srimad Rahasya Traya saram etc..
Swami desika invariably provides a tamil pasuram at the starting and conculsion of every grantha which summerises the theme or idea of the rahasya grantha.The 39 verses presented in the above 17 granthas starting from sampradaya pari suddhi to sara deepam  have been compiled and titled as Amrutha ranjani.
Since this sweet prabandham is tasting like or more than the divine nector and pleases the reader the prabandham got its name, Amrutha ranjani. In this work swami desika remembers HIS acharya’s blessings and explains the three tatvams of chetana, achetana and Ishwara. Besides he provides the meaning of three rahasya mantras namely thiru mantra, dwaya and charama sloka.
Adhikara sangraham:
Srimad Rahasya traya saram has been considered as magnum opus the most important grantha in our kalekshepams. SRTS has 32 chapters or adhikaras and this grantha has been written in mani pravala style ie with admixture of sanskrit and tamil. This prabandham provides the meaning of the 32 chapters present in the Srimad Rahasya trya saram in brief and so got the name adhikara sangraham.
In this prabandham swami desika praises the ten azhvars, madhura kavi azhvar and eight acharyas. He also separately glorifies Bhagavad Ramanuja, Alavandhar and Natha muni for their outstanding contributions (upakara) to our sampradayam.
Then he provides meaning of the each chapter of SRTS in an andhadhi style. One pasuram is dedicated to one chapter of SRTS. Then three verses are dedicated to Koyil, Thirumalai and Perumal koil (Srirangam, Thiruppathi and Kanchipuram) as these divya desams are considered to be the most important ones among the 108 shrines.
Swami desika captures the glory of SrI Ranganatha’s thiruvadi which can’t be separated even for a moment by HIS bhakatas. This has been presented in a long pasuram and beauty of this pasuram can’t be expressed in words. One should recite and feel it. Swami desika finally concludes this prabandham reminding us the great upakara rendered by our Poorvacharyas.
Amrutha svadhini:
The rahasya granthas from Saara saram to Muni vaha bhoham that are presented in mani pravala style are compiled as another part of chillari rahasya.The pasurams presented in these rahasya granthas have been compiled and and presented as tamil prabandham titled “ Amrudha svadhini”. Since the prabandham contains nector like pasurams that will please the reader this prabandham got it’s name.
Here too swami desikan  explains the tatparyam or subtle meaning of mantra traya ie ashtakshara,dwaya and charama sloka. He explains the important aspects like surrender of kakasura and vibhishana of Srimad Ramayana.This prabandham also provides the meaning of varaha charama sloka which the dialogue between Varahapperumal and Bhumi piratti.The glory of  anjali is analysed. The jewel crown of this prabandham is that the glory of Sri Bhashyakara ( Bhagavad Ramanuja) has been presented in a dialogue form. This pasuram concludes with a pasuram that provides the inner meaning of Amalanaadhi piran.
Parama padha sopanam:
Swami desika blessed us a granta with the above title and the pasurams presented in that granta are compiled as a Tamil prabandham with the same title. It is natural that in order to reach an elevated place we have to climb the steps. Similarly to reach the highly elevated place called Parama padham one has to climb nine steps. Swami desika symbolically depicts the 9 important things one should know to attain vaikunta prapthi and they are presented as 9 steps. Sopanam means step.
The nine steps mentioned in this granta/prabandham are:
1. Knowledge of tatvas
2. Aversion to samsara
3. Disinterest in worldly pleasures
4. Fear of Naraka due to the accured sins
5. Performance of an Upaya to invoke the blessings of Sriya: pathi for vaikuntap prapthi
6. Departure of soul from our body
7. Journey through celestial route ( archirathi margam)
8. Reaching parama padam
9. Seeing and enjoying the Sarvesvara and being there forever in ecstasy.
The above points are briefly presented in the prabandham and elaborately dealt in the grantha with the same title.
Para matha pangam:
During Swamy desika’s long stay at Thiruvahendra puram vidhwans of other schools/sampradayams came for a debate with our swami. Swami desika has defeated them easily by exposing the inconsistancies in their theories and proving that they are not in accordance with  Vedas.
In order to enable even a commoner to appreciate the glories of our Vaideka matham and to understand the inconsistancies and defects of our rival schools or para mathas Swami desika blessed us with a rahasya grantha titled para matha pangam. The tamil pasurams presented in the beginning and conclusion of this rahasya grantha are compiled as a tamil prabandham and the same title was given to this prabandham.This prabandham  beautifully summarises the concepts handled in each of the chapter of the granta.
Swami desika first seek the blessings of Sri Sudarshana to condemn the para mathams and then he fondly remembers the upakara rendered by our acharyas. He goes on to explain the tatva traya of our sidhdhantam and explains the reason for condemning the other mathams. He exposes the inconsistancies of Sarvaka matham, four branches of Buddism (mathyamika, yogachara, sauthraanthika and vaibhashika) Advaitam, Jainism, Bhaskara- Yadava matam, Vaiyaakarana matham, KaNa matham, Yoga matham and Pasupadha matam. Swami desika then glorifies the Pancharatra sastra and saranagathi sastra of our siddhantam.He firmly concludes that the sampradayam taught by our acharyas is the only correct and the best siddhantam and thanking Sri Sudarshana for blessing him to undertake this work and praises the valour of the 16 hands of Sri sudarshana.
Meyvradha manmiyam or Aththigiri mahatmiyam:
Swami desika blessed us with a grantha titled Hasthigiri Mahatmiya in mani pravala style. The tamil pasurams of this grantha are compiled as a tamil prabandham and titled Meyvradha manmiyam.Aththigiri or Hasthigiri means Kanchi puram. As we can easily guess this prabandham provides the sthala puranam of Kachipuram and the birth of Perarulalan.
Here is the story: Long ago Brahma wanted to worship Perumal in person and he could not succeed due to his karmas. He came to bharatha desam and undertook severe penance.That time one divine voice or prophecy from the heavens told him that he should go to satya vratha kshetra and perform aswamedha yagam constructing a Yaga sala or Yaga vedhi at Hasthigiri. Brahma then ordered the cheif architect of devas Viswakarma to construct a Yaga sala at Hasthigiri for which viswakarma oblieged. Brahma was getting ready to perform the Yaga as ordered by the Prophecy.
Unfortunately at that time Brahma’s wife Saraswathi devi was not with him due to some misunderstanding with him(!!).Saraswathi separately went to the banks of river saraswathi and performing penance. Since the religious functions can’t be performed alone and only with the dharma pathni Brahma has sent his son Sage Vashista to invite Saraswathi. Sage Vashishta went to his mother and invited her but she refused. Brahma continued the Yagam with his other wives like savitri etc.
Asuras who never be happy with the welfare of devas went to saraswathi and created further misunderstanding by telling her that Brahma is continuing his Yaga without saraswathi thus ignoring her.This made saraswathi furious and she took the form of a river and hurried to destroy the Yaga sala.Sriman Narayana stopped her from destroying the Yaga sala by lying down across her/river. Saraswathi realised her mistake and re joined Brahma. Brahma was happy at her return and proceeded with the Yagam.
Once the Havis was offered, from the Yaga vedhi a Vimanam called Punya Koti vimanam came out with great tejas. SrI PeraruLalan was also appeared in the vimanam.Brahma was extremely happy and offered his prayers to Perumal. Sriman narayana was also happy with the devotion of Brahma and ordered him to ask for any boons. Brahma immediately requested for Perumal to stay at Hasthigiri for which Perumal agreed to. Brahma thus successfully completed the Yagam and then went to satya lokam and immersed in the bhagavad dhyanam.This is the story of Hasthigiri.
Swami desika beautifully described this episode in different types of pasurams that are suitable for the theme. For example, the pasuram that describes the saraswathi’s anger on Brahma and coming as furious river to destroy the Yaga sala has been presented so nicely that we can feel the anger of saraswathi from reading the pasuram itself.
anna vadivaL asayum anna nadaiyaaL
aru manna araseri varuvaaL.
aththana yaththana anuththithanai aththithana
uththi puriyaaL.. ( pasuram 12)
Similarly the beauty of the Perarulalan and Piratti has been described with apt examples that will fill the readers heart with joy. Can you believe that swami desika has encapsuled the distilled meaning of all the 16 padhas of Sri Bhashyam in one pasuram. Unbelievable! (Pasuram 19). Read the entire prabandham and enjoy your self.
Aruththa panchakam:
This prabandham also sang in praise of Perarulalan. One who is desirous of moksha should know the concept of artha panchakam. The five concept or knowledge referred in artha panchakam are:
1. Knowledge about the Perumal ( Paramatma swaroopam)
2. Knowledge about the Self ( Jeevathma swaroopam)
3. Knowledge about the hassles that prevent us to know about the paramatma(Virodhi swaroopam)
4. Knowledge about the ways and means of attaining moksha(Upaya swaroopam)
5. Knowledge about the fruit of observance of the upaya referred in 4 ( Phala swaroopam)
Swami desika describes the above concept in 10 pasurams each two of them describe one of the above knowledge and the eleventh pasuram is the phala sruthi.
Swami desika has decided to perform bhara samarppanam at the lotus feet of Kanchi Perarulalan.He has beautifully describes the prapatti sastra in ten verses of this prabandham.
Swami desika at the outset explains that kakasura and vibheshana were benefitted by surrendering to Rama. The different types of anushtanam of prapatti like,
sva nishtai
ukti nishtai
acharya nishtai
bhagavatha nishtai
are explained nicely. In one pasuram (uhakkum avai uhandhu..) SrI Desika caputures all the five angis of prapatti very nicely. Anukula sankalpam,Pratikulasya vrajjanam,Maha visvasam,Goptrva varnam and Karpanyam are the five angis that are prescribed for Prapatti and this has been very nicely presented by swami desika.
All the ten verses of this prabandham are really wonderful and very easy to recite too.adiyen would request every one of you to recite this prabandham daily during your daily thiruvaradhanam or pooja. This prabandham explains the prapatti sastra as a direct means to moksha,which is unique to our sampradayam. Swami desika has also blessed us with a sanskrit sloka titled nyasa dasakam on the same lines of this prabandham.
SrI Vainava dinasari:
This prabandham explains the daily routine of a srivaishnava as ordained by the sastras. One day is divided in to 5 parts and one activity is prescribed for each of the five parts.
1.Abigaman: Praying to Perumal in the morning for proper performance of daily rituals without any hinderance.
2. Upadhanam: Collecting Tulasi leaves and pushpam etc for Bhagavad thiruvaradhanam. Since the pure mind is the most important requirement for aradhanam it is essential to cleanse it with the kalekshepams of divya sookthis of azhvars and acharyas.
3. Ijaya: Performing thiruvaradhanam in accordance with pancha ratra and ahnika.
4. Svaadhyaayam: Learning vedas and Arulicheyals.
5. Yogam: Remembering Bhagavan’s thiruvadi and going to bed. Thinking that our head is placed at the lotus feet of Sriya: pathi during the sleep.
Swami desika describes the above 5 routines in 10 pasurams.Enjoy swami’s handling of the words. The word Hari( in tamil ari) has been used 7 times in one line to convey 7 different meanings and see the rhythm of the poem (edhukai and monai).
Thiruchchinna malai:
It is customary that in Perumal sannidhis a special blow instrument called “thiruchchinnam” is played. The sweetness and the majesty of this instrument can’t be described in words. Swami desika was mesmerised in the thiruchchinna oli at the Kanchi Perarulalan sannidhi.Perarulalan the one who is the guNa vishesham of thirumantra,dwaya and charama sloka is ready for his “Vedi Ula” and the sabdham of thiruchchinnam indicates that.Swami desika gave name of the instrument to this prabandham.
In this prabandham, SD presents the subtle meaning of thirumantra in the first 6 pasurams.Dwaya mantra’s inner meaning has been presented in the verses 7 and 8. Verse 9 explains the important meaning of charama sloka.Then swami glorifies the Perarulalan in one pasuram.In the concluding verse he mentions that this prabandham  which conveys the acharya upadesam,will be enjoyed by the bhagavathas who are involved in Perumal(‘s kalyana gunas) without getting attached to the lowkeeka pleasures
Panniru namam:
It is essential that srivaishnavas should wear 12 thirumans (Dwadasa urdva pundram) on their body every day as prescribed in the sastras. While doing so, we have to invoke the 12 divine names of Perumal (starting from Kesava to Damodara) and Thayar (starting from Sri to sarva bhiishta phala pradayai). In this prabandham swami desika explains the 12 divine names, their divine colour, their divine weapons,their direction and the part of the body they reside etc.. in a simple and sweet way in his own style.
It is essential that we must recite this prabandham while wearing urdva pundram daily.
The next three prabandhams provide the meaning of thirumantra, dwaya and charama sloka respectively.
Thiru mantra churukku:
This prabandham provides the meaning of thirumantra or ashtakshara. Each of the akshara has been explained in detail:
1. Akara
2. The dative of fourth order (in tamil naakaam vERRumai urubu) that is attached to the Akara
3. “U” kara
4. “M” kara
5. nama: padham
6. nara padham
7. ayana padham
8. The dative of fourth order of ayana padham.
Finally swami desika concludes the prabandham stating that these mantras are a treasure that has been secretly preserved for the benefit of us.
Long long ago, Thayar SrI Maha lakshmi piratti, seeing the jeevas who are immersed in the samsara sagara took pity on us and pleaded to perumal to show us a way to overcome this endless chain of birth and death. Sriman Narayana, blessed her ( and us the jeevas) with a mantra by joining the two stanzas that are scattered in the upanishads.This mantra can be recited by any one, at any time without any restrictions. This is called Dwaya. Dwaya means two. This mantra has two stanzas. First line of the mantra explains the means or upaya to reach HIM. The second part of the mantra explains the fruit or phala of the reciting this mantra. This prabandham explains the meaning of the Dwaya mantra and to this name.
The following padhams of the mantra are nicely explained in this prabandam.
1. SrI sabdham
2. the Madh vihudhi attached to the SrI sabdham
3. Narayana sabdham
4. Charana sabdham
5. sharaNa sabdham
6. “Pra” and “badh” padhams
7. “Thanmai urubu” of prabadh sabdham.
8. Sriman narayana sabdham in the second part
9. Dative of fourth order in the narayana sabdham
10. nama: sabdham.
In the concluding verse swami desika summerises the above 10 meanings.
It is beyond adiyen’s capability to write a even  brief about these prabandhams. adiyen can’t translate the various tamil grammatical terms in to English due to his poor knowledge. Knowledgable bhagavathas may provide the suitable words for various tamil grammer terms. One has to learn the meaning of these mantras from an acharya.
Charama sloka churukku:
In the battle field of Kurekshetra, Sri Krishna blessed Arjuna with Bhagavad gita and revealed the most important concept of surrender.This prabandham provides the meaning of the charama sloka.
In the first pasuram Swami desika explains the meaning of charama sloka in brief. In the next 10 verses he explains the meaning of the following.
1. Sarva dharman parityajya
2. Maam
3. Ekam
4. CharaNam
5. Vraja
6. Aham
7. Tvaa
8. Sarva paapebhyo
9. Mokshayishyaami
10. Maa sucha:
Gitartha sangraham:
SrI Krishna performed the role of a charioteer for Arjuna in the Kurukshetra war. Arjuna on seeing his relatives on the opposite side of the war ready to fight with him, lost his courage to fight and got confused. He has thrown his bow and arrow and sat on the chariot. His mind was filled with emotion and unwarrented love for his relatives.He wasn’t sure whether it is right to fight with all of them. He finally surrendered to SrI Krishna and SrI Krishna advised Arjuna and these conversation is called Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
SrI Alavandhar has blessed us with a sanskrit stotra called gitartha sangraha.Each sloka explains the purport of each chapter and there are 18 slokas in this stotram.Swami desika has  also blessed us with a commentry for SrI Alavandar’s stotra.
In this prabandham, Swami desika translates the sanskrit stotra and provides one tamil verse for each of the sanskrit sloka. One can easily understand the basic purport of Srimad Bhagavad gita from this prabandham.
The next two prabandhams are composed on Deiva nayakan of Thiruvahendrapuram. Swami desika infact sang seven prabandhams namely Mummanikkovai,Nava mani malai,Pandhu, Kazhal,Ammanai,Usal and Esal on the Peruaml of this divya desam.Mummaikkovai as the same suggests should have 30 verses. Unfortunately only 10 verses of this prabandham and Nava mani malai are now available and other prabandhams are now extinct due to our mis fortune.
This prabandham have the verses set to three types of tamil poems namely ahaval, veNpa and Kattalai kaliththurai. The meaning of the title of this prabandham is like a garland made of three jems ( mum maNi kovai).
In this prabandham, swami desika glorifies Piratti and explains the six meanings of SrI sabdha.The he prasises the auspicious qualities (kalyana gunas) of Lord Deivanayaka and states that HE is the relative and saviour of all of us with reasons. Finally he concludes that one who has surrendered at HIS lotus foot are equal to Perumal HIMSELF.
In this prabandham, swami desika like azhvars assumes the role of nayaki and enjoys the perumal in nayaki-nayaka bhavam.These verses are wonderful indeed.
Nava Mani Malai:
In this prabandham, nine verses are set to veNpa and hence this name was given by swami desikan to this prabandham. It is also called as nava ratna malai.
In this prabandham, swami desika glorifies the lotus feet of Deivanayaka and the ten avatharas of Perumal.He says that Brahma,Garuda,Anantha and Bhumi devi were blessed in this kshetram and they are permanently residing at Ayindhai as holy rivers/waters. Swami desika describes the Utsavam that is performed in the month of masi at an groove in the seashore. SD states with autheticity that one who never forgets the divya thirumeni of perumal will never be born again ( what a beautiful anubhavam.. Nin vadivazhagu maravaadhar piravaadhaare..) Swami pleads for protection at his ripe old age and then concludes this prabandham stating that he has composed two sanskrit stotras ( Achutha sathakam and Deivanayaka Panchashat) and 7 tamil prabandhams at the divine command of Lord Deivayanaka.
The eighth pasuram of this prabandham deserves special mention. See the edhukai and monai in these eight lines. (Manchulaavu soolai sUzh...) Please read it your self in tamil script to enjoy the nector.
Adiyen is born in this divya desam on the thirunakshatram of swami Nammazhvar. It is indeed a blessing. The Utsavams of Perumal and Swami desika in this divya desam are a treat to watch. There is also a temple for SrI.Manavala maamuni and aippasi moolam is celebrated in grand way. One can see the Peruaml Hayagreeva that swami desika worshipped and the well he has built. The divya mangala vigraham of swami desika that is blessing us today is made by none other than swami himself to a challenge by a sculptor to prove his title sarva tantra swatantra.( Master of all arts).Please visit this temple and get the blessings of Hemambhuja valli thayar sametha SrI deivanayaka and sarava tantra swatantra.
Prabandha saram:
Swami desika out of his deep involvement in the arulicheyals of Azhvars has composed this prabandham.Here Swami desika codifies the birth place of Azhvars, their thirunakshatram and month, names of the prabandhams blessed by them, their verse total count and most importantly the main purport of their prabandham. The brilliance of Swami desika shines extremely well in each and every line of the prabandham as it is breath taking to even assume that all the above information is packed in one pasuram dedicated to one Azhvar. Swami prays to each azhvar to bless him with their prabandhams for his anusandhanam or recitation. In the end Swami summarises the names of all azhvars and their prabandham count in two pasurams and in the next pasuram he prays to all the 12 azhvars and Swami Emperumanar and finally concludes that the arulicheyals are the only means to overcome this samsara sagaram. Swami calls himself proudly as “Tamizh mariyOn” ie the one who follows the tamil vedam divya prabandham. Swami also states that,one who recites this prabandham, will be blessed by Perumal.
This prabandham is marvallous one among the all desika prabandhams in adiyen’s humble opinion. Please read this atleast once and for sure you will like to read it again and again. One can easily remember the thirunakshatrams of azhvars and their prabandhams and how the entire 4000 count has been arranged are obvious in this prabandham.
One important request from SrI Rama desikachariar of Oppili appan sannidhi:
While reciting the divya prabandham at home and perumal sannidhis it would be appropriate to recite the pasruam related to that azhvar from prabandha saram after recitation of the taniyan. Some may feel shy to start a new procedure but we are not doing anything wrong in adapting this new practice. Elders may please consider adiyen’s proposal.
Ahara niyamam:
This prabandham stipulates the rules that are to be observed on food habits and hence got this name. If the food we consume is impure then the mind won’t be pure and impure mind can’t do any good deed and he is unfit to do any vaidika karmas.Swami desika has given clear instructions what to eat and what to avoid based on the sastras which are given to us by the sages.
Believe it, If we read thru the prabandham we won’t be anywhere near to be fit for doing any vaidika karmas. One may argue that this stipulation can’t fit in today’s living but adiyen disagree with this argument. Remember that all our acharyas lived long and had a healthy life due to their strict anushtanam and acharam. One must try sincerely to follow the guidelines as laid down by our acharyas. (adiyen)
This concludes the brief write up on desika prabandham. But before concluding one more prabandham to know which NOT by swami desika BUT on Swami desika. ie Pillai andhadhi.
Pillai andhadhi:
This prabandham was composed by SrI Kumara varadhachariar (also known as SrI Nainachariar).This swami has learnt all the sastras at the lotus feet of swami desika.SrI Kumara varadhacahrya has blessed us with this prabandham which briefly glorifies swami desika. Since this prabandham speaks about Thuppul pillai ie swami desika in andhadhi style (like ramanuja noorandhadhi) it got its name.
The key issues discussed in this prabandham are:
Unless we glorify swami desika we can’t elevate ourselves. The siddhantam given by swami desika based on our poorvacharyas is the only recourse for us. Swami desika is none other than Lord Balaji of Seven Hills. If we sing the glories of swami desika all our sins will vanish and we will be blessed. There is no other upaya to overcome this samsara sagaram without the grace of swami desika.
Like this SrI Nainachariar glorifies swami desika and prays to him for his blessings and give him para bhakthi, knowledge etc.. He also sings pallandu for the divya thirumeni of swami desika and concludes the prabandham stating that one who recites this prabandham will be blessed with the swami’s divine feet on their head.
Swami desikan thiruvadigale saranam.

1. Amrutha ranjani 
2. Adhikara sangraham 
3. Amrutha swanidhi 
4. Parama padha sopanam 
5. Para madha pangam 
6. Meyvradha or aththigiri mahatmiyam 
7. Adaikkalappaththu 
8. Artha panchakam 
9. Sri Vaishnava dinasari 
10. Thiruchchinna malai 
11. Panniru namam                                  Meaning 
12. Thiru mandhira churukku 
13. Dwaya churukku 
14. Charama sloka churukku 
15. Gitartha sangraham 
16. Mummanikkovai 
17. Navamani malai 
18. Pandhu * 
19. Kazhal * 
20. Ammanai * 
21. Usal * 
22. Esal * 
23. Prabandha saram 
24. Ahara Niyamam.                                Meaning
25.Pillai andhadhi ( in praise of swami desika)

ThirunaaL pAttu  

Friday, February 2, 2007

Innumerable Works of Swami Desikan

Let us look at the amazing list now: Take a breath and read. It takes few long minutes to read even the list- Only an avatar could do it- is imminent.

SthOthra granthas:
Hayagriva stOtram
dasaavataara stOtram
Bhagavath dhyaana sOpAnam
dayA sathakam
abheethi sthavam
vairAgya panchakam
Devanaayaka panchAsath
Gopala vimsathy
SrI Sthuthi
BhU sththi
GodhA sthuthi
nyAsa dhasakam
nyAsa vimsathy
nyAsa thilakam
saraNAgathi DIpikA
Achutha sayayam (achutha sathakam)
varadarAja panchAsath
vEgAsEthu sthOthram
paramartha sththi
dhEhaleesa sththi
Raguveera Gadyuam (mahA veera vaibhavam)
shodasAyudha stOtram
Garuda dhaNdakam
Garuda panchAsath
yatirAja sapthati

Tamil Prabandams
amrutha ranjani
adhikAra sangraham
amrutha swAdhini
paramapada sOpAnam
paramatha bhangam
mei viradha mAnmiyam
artha panchakam
SrI vaishNava dinasari
Thirucchinna maalai
panniru nAmam
thiru manthiracchurukku
charama sloka cchurukku
Gitaartha sangraham
nava maNi mAlai
pandhu (lost)
kazhal (lost)
ammAnai (lost)
oosal (lost)
Esal (lost)
Prabandha sAram
AhAra niyamam.

VedAnta granthas
mImAmsA pAdukA
sEsvara mImAmsa
satha dhUshaNi
adhikaraNa sArAvaLi
tatva tIkA
nyAya parisuddhi
nyAya siddhAnjanam
tatvamuktha kalApam
nikshepa rakshA
sachcharitra rakshA
srI pAncharAthra rakshA
vAditraya kandanam
dramidOpanishad tAtparya rathnAvaLi
dramidOpanishad sAram

BhAshya granthas (Commentaries)
chatus slokI Bhashyam
SthOthra rathna Bhashyam
Rahasya rakshA
GitArtha sangraha rakshA
tAtparya chandrikA
IsAvAsyOpanishad BhAshyam
sarvArtha siddhi
adhikaraNa dharpaNam (lost)

KAvya grantas:
hamsa sandesam
subhAshita nIvi
pAdukA sahasram (1008 verses)

Rahasya granthas:
sampradAya parisuddhi
rahasya padhavi
tatva navanItham
rahasya navanItham
tatva mAtruka
rahasya mAtruka
tatva sandEsam
rahasya sandEsam
rahasya sandEsa vivaraNam
tatva rathnAvaLi
tatva rathnAvali pratipAdya sangraham
rahasya rathnAvaLi
rahasya rathnAvaLi hrudayam
tatva traya suLakam
rahasya traya suLakam
abhaya pradAna sAram
rahasya sikAmaNi
anjali vaibhavam
pradhAna satakam
upakAra sangraham
sAra sangraham
munivAhana bhogam
madurakavi hrudayam (lost)
paramapada sOpAnam
paramatha bhangam
hasthigiri mAhAthmyam
SrImath Rahasya Traya Saram (MAGNUM OPUS)
SarA sAram
VirOdha parihAram
NigamaparimaLam (lost)
Tirumudiadaivu (lost)

nAtaka grantam (Drama)
Sankalpa SooryOdhayam

anushtAna grantams
Bhagavath-AarAdhana vidhi

Even to read the above list will take so much time. Swamy alone can compose so many works in one lifetime. When we see /enjoy / recite these works individually, we will realize that what sweetness, depths, literary values, rhythms, grammars, variety of meanings they contain! How true are those words and fully in accordance with Sri Ramanuja?s works and Vedas and saasthrAs! We will have to read to believe it!
Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam

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Vedanta Desika

Sri Vedanta Desikan
Swamy Desikan.jpg
Swamy Sri Vedanta Desikan as in Kanchipuram with lions on two sides
1268 AD
Thoopul (Thiruthanka) (present-day Kanchipuram DistrictTamil NaduIndia)
Titles/honoursSarvathanthra Swathanthrar,Kavitharkiga Simham,Vedanthachariar
GuruSri Kidambi Appullar alias Sri Aathreya Ramanujachariar
PhilosophyRamanuja's Vishistadvaita
Literary worksSri Sthothra Nidhi, Sri Paduka Sahasram, Rahasya Granthams, Sri Desika Prabandham, Kavyams
Srimathe Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namah:
(श्रीमते निगमान्त महादेशिकाय नमः)

Vedanta Desika
 (Swami DesikanSwami Vedanta DesikanThoopul Nigamaantha Desikan) (1268–1370) was a Sri Vaishnavaguru and one of the most brilliant stalwarts of Sri Vaishnavism in the post-Ramanuja period. He was 

poetdevoteephilosopherand master-teacher. He was the disciple of Kidambi Appullar, also known as Aathreya Ramanujachariar, who himself was of a master-disciple lineage that began with Ramanuja. Desika is considered to be avatar (incarnation) of the divine bell of Venkateswaraof Tirumalai by the Vadakalai sect of Sri Vaishavites.


Vedanta Desika makes some oblique autobiographical references in his works, such as in the prologue to his Sankalpa Suryodayam.Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya (1300–1400), a junior contemporary of Desika and a disciple of his son, Kumara Varadhacharya, gives some details about Desika's parentage, education etc. in his Saptati Ratna Maalika.

Early life

Desika was born in the Kali yuga year 4370, which corresponds to 1268 CE. His birthplace was Thoopul, near Kanchipuram. He was named Venkatanatha and belonged to the Vishwamithra gotra (lineage). He was educated and trained by a Kidambi Appullalar, a scholarly maternal uncle who was a direct disciple of Nadadoor Ammal (grand-nephew of Ramanuja). Appullalar also initiated Venkatanatha into Brahmacharya Upanayanam (the sacred thread ceremony) at the age of seven and then to the Sri Vaishnavaite school of philosophy through Panchasamskara and made him master the VedasDivyaprabandamPuranas and Sastras.[citation needed]
By the age of 20 Desika was a great scholar without peer in the history of Vaishnavism. He married at the age of 21 to Tirumangai (also known as Kanakavalli) and by the age of 27 he was an Acharya. Desika was conferred the title of Sarva Tantra Swatantra (one with the capacity for independent thinking and originality in any field), by Ranganayaki and with the title Vedantacharya by the Lord ofSri Rangam Sri Ranganatha.[citation needed]
After becoming an acharya, Desika left for Thiruvahindhipuram (near Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu) in accordance with the orders of Appullar. He spent some years there, meditating on Garuda and had the darshan of Hayagriva; from then on, Lakshmi Hayagrivabecame his personal deity. He composed numerous literary works in SanskritPrakritTamil and Manipravala. He also made pilgrimages to Kanchipuram, Tirupati, Brindavan, Ayodya and Badrinath, during which he promoted Ramanuja's philosophy through discourses and literary works. After many years of wandering from place to place, Desika returned to Srirangam and settled there.[citation needed]
Desika died in 1370, aged 101. Prior to his death he had arranged for the continuance of the "Guru Parampara" by initiating his primary disciple, Brahmatantraswatantra, and his son, Kumara Varada Desika into the Acharya tradition.[citation needed]


Desika's writings include devotional works on deities and Acharyas, treatises on Vishishtadvaita, commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, secret doctrines of Vaishnavism, Tamil poems, epic poems and allegorical dramas in Sanskrit, dialectical works such as Satadushanidirected against rival religious schools, treatises on daily life and several other miscellaneous treatises.[citation needed] His gloss on the meanings of the Vedas, reconciling the teachings of the Alvars and the Prasthanatrayi, created history because it exposed the Divya Prabhandham of the Alvars to a much wider audience and elevated it to a status equivalent to that of the Vedas in the eyes of the Tamil Vaishnava people.[citation needed]

StOtra grantams (works of divine hymns of praise)

During his stay in Kanchipuram, Desika visited several shrines, composing lyrics on their deities.[citation needed]

The Hamsa-Sandesha

Hamsa-Sandesha ("The Message of the Swan") is a medieval love poem set in southern India. Lovesick Rama, the epic hero, petitions a swan to carry a message to his beloved Sita, who has been abducted by the demon king, Ravana. As the swan's route winds through South India, it honors the land which Rama and Sita made sacred, whose beautiful landscape and peoples it describes in full. The Swan shoots like an arrow across the ocean to the island of Lanka and there he sustains the pining and near-suicidal Sita with his message. But more than this, the poet also pays deep homage to Kālidāsa's "Cloud Messenger".[citation needed]

Paaduka Sahasram

Paaduka Sahasram ("1008 Verses on the Sandals of the Lord") is considered to be Desika's magnum opus. He claimed to have written it in one quarter of a night as a challenge, with the two preceding quarters being devoted by him to yoga and yoga-nidra (=sleep induced by yoga and resulting in intuition).[citation needed]
Paduka Sahasram has 32 "Padhadhi"s. Reading each padhadhi everyday, thereby completing in 32 days. Many believed to have achieved their wishes by completing this exercise. Doing parayana of paduka sahasram helps to attain moksha. Wonderful language, chitra-padams were used in these slokas. Mainly sung on the padukas of Rama, Ranganatha and Krishna, praying for attaining Moksha.

Defence and recovery of Srirangam

In about 1312 A.D, during the Muslim invasion of Srirangam by Malik Kafur, the General of Allauddin, Sultan of Delhi and in 1323 A.D during the invasion of Ulugh Khan there was a great commotion.[1] Fear gripped the minds of everyone as to what might happen to the temple and the Lords Archa murthis. To inspire his fellows, Vedanta Desika composed the poem "abhIti stava". The Acharyas deliberated under the guidance of the centenarian Master, Sudarsana Bhattar.
It was decided that one group under Pillai Lokacharya (who was equally advanced in age) was to take the Utsava Murthi and his consorts covered up in a palanquin to Tirupati. The party under Sudarsana Suri was to stay put at Srirangam, after erecting a stone wall in front of the Sannidhi of Moolavar to cover him from the sight of the marauders. Swami took Sudarsana Bhattars two sons and the manuscripts of shruta Prakaasika (the elaborate commentary on Sri Bhashyam chronicled by Sudarsana Bhattar during the Kalakshepams of Nadadur Ammaal) to safety at Tiru narayana puram via Satya mangalam. But, before he could do that, the Muslim army attacked them and massacred many of them. Swami hid himself with his wards in the midst of corpses and spent the night. In the morning, they moved towards Satyakalam village in Karnataka en route to Tirunarayana puram.
After the sack, his old classmate Vidyaranya visited to assess the situation. Later, Vedanta Desika's mantra-disciple, the BrahminGopanarya was among the three generals deployed by the founder of the fledgling Vijayanagara empire to recover the south from Muslim forces led by the Madurai sultanate. Gopanarya, inspired by a dream involving Vishnu according to legend, vowed to restore Srirangam. Having first captured Gingee, he temporarily housed the Srirangam idols moved back from Tirupati. Then, having defeated the formidable horse archers of the enemy, he reinstalled the idols in Srirangam , and invited back Vedanta Desika.


Holy icon of Vedanta Desikan at Thiruvahindrapuram
In Sri Vaishnavism, a Thanian is a laudatory dedication in verse composed about an acharya by another acharya who is the subject's pupil and someone whom the subject greatly admired.[citation needed] The Thanian of Desika is:
"rAmAnuja-dayA-pAtraM j~nAna-vairAgya-bhUShaNaM |
shrImad-venkaTa-nAthAryaM vande vedAntadeshikaM ||"
This Thanian was composed by Periya Parakala Jeeyar of Parakala Mutt on the day of star of Hastham, the star of Varadharaja Perumal of Kanchipuram in the Tamil month of Avani. It is recited before starting Divya Prabandham[2] — the works of Alwars by Vadakalayars. It translates as "I salute the great Venkata Natha also called Vedanta Acharya and Lion among poets and logicians and who was well adorned by both Knowledge and discretion and who well deserved the grace of Athreya Ramanujar who also had the same name."[citation needed]
Desika's son, Kumara Varadacharya, composed a Thanian on his father. This is recited before reading the Sri Bhasya of Ramanuja and any Sanskrit stotra of Desika by the Vadakalai sect. In ITRANS, it is:
"shrImAn venkaTa-nAthAryaH kavitArkika-kesari |
vedAntAcharya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hridi ||"
The meaning of this verse is "the great lion of poets and the great preceptor of Vedanta (that Swami Venkatanatha was) should reside in his heart always." It is good to note that, Sri Kumara Varadhacharya was a great scholar and has also composed "Pillai Anthathi" in Tamil and "Sri Desika Managalam" in Sanskrit, on Swamy Vedanta Desika. These two works are chanted in most of the Vadakalai Divya Desam till today.
"Seeronru Tooppul Thiruvenkata mudaiyan
par onra chonna pazhamozhiyul- OronRu
thane amaiyadhO Dharaniyil Vazhvorkku
Vanerap PomaLavum Vazhvu ||"
The meaning of this verse composed is, "For a person who desires to ascend up to the Heavens, even a single statement of the great Acharya, Tooppul Tiuvenkadamudaiyan (Vedanta Desika) uttered by him for the benefit of humanity would be sufficient to lift him up to his desired goal".[citation needed]

Vazhi Thirunamam

Vazhi Thirunamam is a set of salutary verses chanted in temples to mark the closure of the day's Divya Prabandha chanting. They are intended to ensure that these temples and the practices as established by the acharyas and Ramanuja will be followed for ever. The Vazhi Thirunamam for Desika is:[citation needed]
"Vanja Para Samayam Mattra Vandhon Vazhiye
Mannu Pughaz Bhoothooran Manamuhappon Vazhiye
Kanja Thirumangai Ughakka Vandhon Vazhiye
Kaliyanurai Kudi Konda Karuththudayon Vazhiye
Senjol Tamil Maraigal Thelindhu Uraippon Vazhiye
Thirumalai Mal Thirumaniyay Sirakka Vandhon Vazhiye
Thanja Parakadhiyay Thantharulvon Vazhiye
Than Tamil Thoopul Thiruvenkadavan Vazhiye!!!
Nanilamum Than Vaala; Naan maraigal Thaam Vaala
Maanagaril Maaran Marai Vaazha
Gyaniyargal Senniani Ser Thoopul Vedantha Desikane
Innum Oru Nootrandirum!!!
Vazhiyani Thoopul varum Vedathasiriyan
Vazhiyavan Paadhara Vindha Malargal
Vazhiyavan Kodhila Thal Malarai Kondadi Kondirukkum
Theethilla Nallor Thiral!"
The meaning of the Tamil verses is:
"May Your grace live long; for you have changed many unrighteous paths to the righteous path
 May Your grace live long; for you have lived a life as pleasing to Sri Ramanujacharya
 May Your grace live long; for you have given joy for great men with your service
 May Your grace live long; for you have been an embodiment of the words of Thirumangai Alwar
 May Your grace live long; for you have presented the Tamil Vedas the Divya Prabandams very clearly
 May Your grace live long; for you have proved your incarnation of being the Divine bell of the Lord of Seven Hills
 May Your grace live long; for you are blessing us with the path of Salvation
 May Your grace live long; for you are the Lord of Seven Hills whom came to elaborate the Tamil Verses"
 "May our Swami Desikan live for one more century, for the well-being of the Worlds ( The Earth, the worlds above Earth,  
  the worlds below Earth and the Eternal world), for the well-being of Vedas, for the sacred text of Nammalvar's
  Thiruvaimozhi to present glorious in sacred Sri Rangam; Oh Swami Vedanta Desika, the dusts from your holy feet
  are being worn   by the great Gyanis to get betterment in their Spiritual life; May You live one more century for our sake!"
 "May Your grace live long; the grace of Swami Desikan who was born in Thoopul, who has no equivalent in knowledge; who is our 
  greatest Philosopher; Long live His Lotus Feet! Long live the sacred men who are divine and pious always meditating and
  celebrating the grace of this Aacharya and who are staying away from all sorts of evil deeds and who are always surrounded with
  the good and sacred deeds!"

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