ராதே கிருஷ்ணா 24-12-2015
Swamy Desikan’s Sri dashAvatAra stotram
Annotated Commentary in English by Oppiliappan KOil SrI Varadachari SathakOpan
INTRODUCTION TO DASHAVATHARAM 3
SLOKAM 1: INTRODUCTORY SALUTATION 6
SLOKAM 2: MATSYAVATHARAM 9
SLOKAM 3: KOORMAVATHARAM 12
SLOKAM 4: VARAAHAVATHARAM 14 SLOKAM 5: NARASIMHAVATHARAM 17
SLOKAM 6: VAAMANAVATHARAM 21
SLOKAM 7: PARASURAMAVATHARAM 24
SLOKAM 8: RAAMAVATHARAM 26
SLOKAM 9: BALARAMAVATHARAM 29
SLOKAM 10: KRISHNAVATHARAM 31
SLOKAM 11: KALKI AVATHARAM 33
SLOKAM 12: COMBINED AVATHARA VARNANAM 35 SLOKAM 13: PHALA SRUTHI & NIGAMANAM 38
SrimAn VenkatanATArya: KavitArkika Kesaree VedAnthAchAryavaryOmE SannidhatthAm sadha Hrudhi
SRI DASAVATHARA STHOTHRAM
Swamy Desikan composed this sthOthram, when he was living at Srirangam. After his morning anushtAnams at Cauvery, he used to stop at DasAvathAra Sannidhi on his way to the main sannidhis of Sri RanganAyaki and Her dear consort, Azhagiya MaNavALar resting on His bed of AadhiSeshan.
One day, the bhagavathAs assembled at the DasAvathAra Sannidhi appealed to Swamy Desikan to bless the world with a SthOthram on the ten incarnations of the Lord. Swamy received the request as BhagavAn's command and composed a very beautiful sthOthram on the DasAvathArams of the Lord. Thus came into existence the thirteen slokams of Sri DasAvathAra sthOthram, where Lord RanganAtha Himself is visualized as an actor on the stage of Srirangam playing ten different roles (Vibhava avathArams) to please His divine consort and His rasikAs assembled to enjoy this riveting play. As one of the commentators observed, this SthOthram is about “AvathArakAri SrI RanganAtha Vishyakam”. This sthOthram seeks “the Jn~Ana roopa KshEmam” for us all.
The DasAvathAra Sannidhi was built by none other than Thirumangai AzhwAr. Today this sannidhi with consecrated images of the ten avathArams of the Lord is under the Aadheenam of the blessed Jeeyars Sri Ahobila Matam.
Two years ago, Dr. V.N. Vedantha Desikan of Oppiliappan Sannidhi released on behalf of HH Poundarikapuram Andavan a 218 paged monograph containing the commentaries of three great Sri VaishNavite Scholars (Vaikunta Vaasis) -- Thirumalai Sri Raaghava PatrAcchAr Swamy, Anbil V.GopAlAcchAr Swamy and Sri Kurucchi GopAla TatAchAr Swamy. The first two commentaries are in Sanskrit and the third one is in Tamil. Dr. VedAntha Desikan added his own lucid explanations and summaries of these commentaries. adiyEn recommends you to enjoy the contents of this scholarly monograph and other releases of Sri Desika SthOthra VyAkhyAna Maala released by HH PoundarIkapuram Srimath Andavan.
The entire SthOthram is set in the majestic SaardhUla Vikreetitham metre.
THE DASAVATHARAMS OF THE LORD OF SRIRANGAM, THE AADHI BHAGAVAN From the incarnation as Mathsyam (Fish) to the enchanting Krishna, Lord's nine Vibhava avathArams have been celebrated in Vedam, IthihAsams, PurANams and AchArya dhivya Sookthis. From Sukha Brahmam to Swamy ParAsara Bhattar salutations have been made to the glories of these avathArams that have taken place and the Bhavishyath (Future) avathAram of the Lord as Kalki at the end of Kali Yugam. AzhwArs have been deeply immersed in singing the Vaibhavam of these Vibhava avathArams as they performed their mangaLAsAsanams at the dhivya dEsams. Thirumangai Mannan's and Swamy NammAzhwAr’s dhivya Prabhandhams are replete with their anubhavams of the ten avathArams of the Lord. KulasEkhara PerumAl focused on Lord's avathAram as Dasaratha Nandhanan and PeriyAzhwAr as well as ANDAL devoted themselves to the blissful anubhavams of KrishNa charithram and LeelAs.
In this essay, adiyEn will present the meanings and the brief commentaries of the thirteen slOkams of Sri DaSAvathAra SthOthram known for its high watermarks of poetry and devotion. Original sketches of the avathArams have been assembled by the artist members of the Sundara Simham ghOshti. Photos from Dhivya dEsams have also been included for a full enjoyment of the sacred sthOthram of Swamy Desikan.
SLOKAM 1: INTRODUCTORY SALUTATION
DevO naSSubhamAthanOthu daSadhA nirvarthayan bhUmikAm RangE dhAmani labdha-nirbhara0rasai: ashyakshithO bhAvukai: yadhbhAvEshu pruTakvidhEshu anuguNAn bhAvAn svayam Bibrathee yaddharmairiha DharmiNee viharathE nAnAkruthir nAyikaa
MEANING: May Lord RanganAthan, who has taken the ten roles as an actor on the stage of Srirangam whose role playing is enjoyed by the connoisseurs of His dhivya dEsam shower all MangaLams on us all ! His divine consort, Sri RanganAyaki, takes on the roles befitting the individual vibhava avathArams of Her Lord and follows the dharmams in tune with that of Her Lord and enacts her chosen roles.
The key words in this slOkam are: “(Ya:) Deva: daSavidhA bhUmikAm nirvarthayan, RangE dhAmani dharmiNee (saha) viharathE, (Sa) Deva: na: SubhamAathanOthu”. The prayer is: May that DevAthi- Devan, Sri RanganAthan, who has taken the ten avathArams at His Supreme abode in Sri Rangam with His Devi in anuroopams, grow further our Jn~Ana roopa KshEmam! COMMENTS: 1. JANARDHANA TATTVAM IN DASAVATHARAMS The frequently recited slOkam salutes the glories of JanArdhana- RanganAthan taking on the ten avathArams:
Mathsya KoormO Varahasccha Naarasimhasccha Vaamana: RaamO Raamasccha Raamasccha KrishNa: Kalki Janardhana:
Here the salutations are to JanArdhanan, who incarnated as Fish, Tortoise, ManLion, Dwarf, ParasurAman, DasaraTa Raaman, BalarAman, KrishNan and Kalki.
Salutations to JanArdhana RanganAthan are very appropriate. JanArdhanan is the ArchA Moorthy at an ancient temple by the sea side in Kerala. RanganAthan is the presiding ancient PerumAL, who is resting in an island formed by the two rivers at Srirangam. The ardha sabdham in JanArdhananhas three meanings (Please refer to the 961st SlOkam of Sri RanganAtha PaadhukA Sahasram). The three meanings are: (1) Ardha PeeDyan: One who engages the Janams in SamsAric struggle (2) Artha gathou anugrahithavAn: One who directs the Janams to perform their karmAs as antharyAmi and (3) ardhaa yaachantE: One who is approached by Janams for all kinds of boons including Moksha sukham. This is the essence of JanArdhana RanganAtha Tatthvam Played out in the ten forms of Sri RanganAthan, the divine actor with His anuroopa NaDee (actress in the form befitting His avathAram: SeethA in RaamAvathAram and as RukmiNi in KrishNaavathAram).
2. “RANGE DHAMANI, LABDHA NIRBHARA RASAI: BHAVUKAI: ADHYAKSHITHA:” The enjoyment of RasikAs (Bhagavatha-Bhaktha Janams) assembled before the stage of Srirangam to witness the Naadakam of the divine actor and His sahadharmachAriNi is referred to here. RasikAs or Connoisseurs are saluted as the blessed BhaavukAs. These rasikAs have attained yOgyathai (Fitness) to enjoy this scene through their AchAram, anushtAnam and VairAgyam (nirbhara rasa:). They enjoy the Divine couple performing their acts on the stage of Srirangam and salute them (adhyakshitha:). They have reached a stage of “PrAptha ParipoorNa Aanandham”. Their state is described by the Sruthi Vaakyam: “RasO vai sa: RasamhyEvAyam labdhvA Aanandhee bhavathy”. The reference is to the bliss of Muktha Jeevams (Mukthaiswaryam of ParipoorNa BrahmAnandham).
3. SRI RANGANAYAKI'S ROLE AS SAHA-DHARMA CHARINI “Yaa NaayikA PruTak vidhEshu Yath BhAvEshu anuguNAn bhAvAn svayam Bibrathee, yath Dharmai: DharmiNee (aTa yEva) nAnAkruthi: iha viharathE” are the words chosen by Swamy Desikan in this first slOkam to describe the role of Sri
RanganAyaki in Her Lord's ten avathArams. “PurushakAra SrI Saannidhyam” is invoked here. They are never separated. She will be there, wherever He is and whatever role He plays. Even in VaamanAvathAram as BrahmachAri, She was under the deer skin attached to the sacred thread of the Lord. This is a manifestation of “the anuroopa bhAvikA” (tahuntha vEsham as the actress/wife of the actor/Lord in the drama). Her multiple manifestations are saluted by the statement: “RaaghavathvE abhavath SeethA, RukmiNee Krishna Janmani”. In RaamAvathAram, She became SeethA to accompany Her Lord and in KrishNAvathAram, She incarnated as RukmiNee. In Her LeelA VIbhUthi, She is present as Sri RanganAyaki out of Her Aasritha Vaathsalyam and inseparability from Her Lord. They are a perfectly well matched couple as the NaDan (actor) and Nadee (actrees) in the Naatakam where they take on the ten roles (ten Roopams: DaSathA BhUmikA:).
4. DHARMAM OF THE DHIVYA DAMPATHIS Their main dharmam is “SaraNAgatha RakshaNa dharmam”. For practising their dharma, they take on many matching roopams and enjoy the LeelA rasams in their LeelA VibhUthi. They display Soulabhyam (ease of access), Parathvam (Status of Supreme Being), KaaruNyam (in the case of AparAdhis), PurushakAram and Bhagavath kOpa Samakthvam (intercession with Her Lord on behalf of erring chEtanams and quenching the anger of Her Lord), Puthra Vaathsalyam. Sri Anbil GopAlAcchAr Swamy points out that these ten avathArams are for the benefit of the chEtanams to get closer to the dhivya dampathis (Sakala Manuja VishayeekaraNam). Through enjoying their avathArams and their leelAs, One experiences tanmayathvam / “tanmayathvam rasEshu” (labdha Nirbhara Rasai: bhAvukai:).The rasikAs eyes are filled with tears (AahlAdha seetha nEthrAmbhu:) and their hair stands on end (PuLakeekrutha gAthram).Tanmayathvam (total immersion) in Bhagavath anubhavam follows.
The two aspects of Dharmam of the dhivya Dampathis are also “Dharma SamsTApanam” and “Saadhu RakshaNam and Dushta Nigraham”. This Naatakam is seen in all the ten avathArams. The six doctrines (rahasyams) linked to the avathArams are elaborated in Bhagavath GitA by GeethAchAryan Himself. These avathArams therefore are “Bhuvana hithakaram and Jagath RakshaNam”. He enjoys them too with His dear consort. He becomes with in the reach of the eyes of all chEtanams (Sakala manuja vishayathAm gatha:). achEtanams are also blessed as described in Srimath RaamAyaNam, where all chEtanams and achEtanams are blessed to ascend to a special lOkam dear to Him as a direct result of being part of AyOdhyA. He takes on with His divine consort many vEshams for the express purpose of blessing the beings of the worlds that He has created (Sailooshavath vividha vEsha Parigruham/taking on many roles as an actor on the stage). During Their avathArams, the divine couple can be approached by anyone. The first slOkam provides the introduction to the DasAvathAra SthOthram. Dr. V.N. VedAntha Desikan Sums up the unique role of Sri RanganAyaki in these ten avathArams of the Lord this way: “May the Lord, who ever indulges in enlivening sports, grant us all auspiciousness -- who adopted the ten forms, who resides in the abode called Ranga, a veritable stage for play enactment, where discerning connoisseurs witness His drama with perfect relish? His consort -- a perfect equal in the Lord's actions and world managing responsibilities, a singularly equal wife to Him -- takes equivalent forms of different nature in each role of His ( in each avatAra, so to say), and enjoys the sport with such qualities as equal to His ; a varying role for Her too!”.
SLOKAM 2: MATSYAVATHARAM
nirmagna sruthi jaala mArgaNa dasA dhatha kshaNair veekshaNai: anthas-tanavathivAravindha gahanAnyaudhanvatheenAmapAm nishprathyUha taranga ringaNa miTa: pratyUDa paadhacchaDA dOlArOha sadhOhaLam BhagavathO Maathsyam vapu: pAthu na:
The key words of this slOkam are: “Bhagavatha: Maathsyam vapu: na: Paathu” (May the Lord's sacred form that retrieved the VedAs as a Fish protect us!).
(EXTENDED MEANING OF THE SLOKAM): Once upon a time, an asuran stole the VedAs from Brahma Devan and ran off with them to the bottom of the ocean and hid there. Brahma could not carry out his assigned duties of creation without the VedAs. He lamented about his unfortunate lot and performed SaraNAgathy at the sacred feet of the Lord and sought His help to gain back the VedAs. Our Lord took on the form of a giant fish and entered the ocean in search of the VedAs. Wherever our Lord looked with His lotus eyes during that search, those places looked like assemblies of forests of Lotus as a result of the glances of the Lord falling there. This transformation under water resulted from Lord’s SarvEswarathvam. One of His key lakshaNam as SarvEswaran is His Beautiful PuNDareeka nayanam. He can not hide them under any circumstance. As the Lord moved about searching for the VedAs with His own eyes, the beauty of those roving lotus eyes had no match. They implanted themselves on all the places, where His glances fell.
MathsyAvathAran in his giant form was moving rapidly under the ocean water and His movements created many waves that rose and fell. The result was like riding a swing that was going up and down. MathsyAvathAra PerumAL enjoyed the rhythmic movement of the waves generated by His own movements as a most enjoyable DolOthsavam. Swamy Desikan prays to the Lord in the form of a gigantic Fish (Maathsyam Vapu:) to protect us all.
COMMENTS: Swamy Desikan draws two lovely word pictures: (1) The creation of lotus forests under the waters of the Ocean from the glances of the Lord falling on the various areas of search for the VedAs (2) the ups and downs of the swing like movement originating from our Lord's swift movement, while moving under water in search of the stolen VedAs. Normally BhakthAs perform dolothsavam for the Lord. Here, the Lord Himself orchestrates His Oonjal festival through His own swift movements under the water and is enjoying that. During the Lord's dOlai at the temples, bhakthAs decorate Him with lotus garlands and enjoy His beauty as He swings towards them and goes away from them during the two stages of the Dolai. Our Lord's own lotus eyes create the lotus flowers under water and Lord in the form of the fish wades through them, which makes Him look like One adorning the lotus flowers created by His glances, wherever His KatAkshams landed. The Lord taking the form of the fish was creating the lotus forests with His glances and wading through those forests.
SLOKAM 3: KOORMAVATHARAM
avyAsur-bhuvana thrayeem anibrutham kaNDUyanair-adhriNA nidhrANasya Parasya KoormavapushO nisvAsa-vAthOrmaya: yath vikshEpaNa samskruthOdhadhi Paya: prEnkhOLa paryankikA nithyArOhaNa nirvruthO viharathE Deva: sahaiva SriyA
The key prayer embedded in this slOkam saluting the KoormAvathAran is: “Koorma Vapusha: Parasya nissvAsa Vaadha: bhuvana thrayeem avyAsu:” ( May the waves of breath of the Supreme Being resting on the ocean floor as a giant tortoise protect the beings of all the three worlds ! ).
(EXTENDED MEANING): For blessing the DevAs with life sustaining nectar, our Lord had to establish the Mandara Mountain as the churning rod and the serpent Vaasuki as the rope to churn the Milky Ocean. When the Mandara Mountain began to slip, our Lord took on the form of giant tortoise to hold the mountain firmly on His back. During the rhythmic movement of the churning, Lord's back got relief from the itches and pains caused by the cyclical movement of the mountain on His back. That rhythmic Movement lulled Him into a most enjoyable sleep. He began to “snore”. The heavy breathing pushed the surrounding water into gently breaking waves. The power of His breath made the Lord enjoy this churning-induced sleep with His Devi at His side. Swamy Desikan appeals therefore to those powerful breaths (Nissvasanam) leading to the SayanOthsavam to protect the beings of the three worlds. The repeated churnings are like regular itches (KaNDUyanai:) on the back (shell) of the Lord, who has taken the avathAram of a giant Koormam (adhriNA anibhrutham kaNDUyanai: nidhrANasya Parasya Koorma Vapusha:). Those ceaseless (anibhrutham) churnings using Mandara Mountain as the churning rod put Him to sleep. He is in deep sleep and the heavy breathing associated with that slumber raises through the water and serves as a rocking cradle on the Milky ocean (Yath vikshEpaNa samskrutha: Udhadhi paya: prEnkhOLa paryankikA). Our Lord is resting on that rocking cot and sports with His Devi on that watery cradle (prEnkhOLa paryankikA nithya AarOhaNa nirvrutha Deva: SriyA saha ViharathE).
SLOKAM 4: VARAAHAVATHARAM
gOpAyEth anisam jaganthy kuhanApOthree pavithreekrutha- BrahMANDA: praLayOrmi ghOsha gurubhir-ghONAravair-gurgurai: yath dhamshtrAnkura kODi gADa gaDanA nishkampa nithya sTithi: Brahma sthambhamasoudhasou Bhagavathee musthEva ViswambharA
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The key words of this slOkam are: “KuhanA pOthree Jaganthy aniSam gOpAyEth” May this KapaDa VarAha PerumAL protect all the worlds and their beings always”.
(EXTENDED MEANING OF THIS SLOKAM): During the time of the great PraLayam, BhUmi had sunk into the oceans. Our Lord incarnated as a gigantic Boar to retrieve BhUmi from the Ocean. The loud sounds of “Ghur, Ghur” arose from the Lord's nostrils as He dived in and swam about searching for His Devi. Those sounds matched with the sounds made by the waves of the ocean colliding with each other mighty forcefully. The sounds made by the Lord spread all around the world and consecrated the world. Our Lord found His Devi in the depths of the Ocean and He lifted upwards carrying His dear consort on His tusker (canine teeth). There BhUmi Devi appeared like a tuber attached to the canine teeth (Korai tooth of a VarAham). Our Devi is holding tightly to those canine teeth of Her Lord as He accelerates upward from the interior of the ocean with great speed. Thus She stays motionless during the ascent. This BhUmi DEvi is the cause for the creation of all beings from the smallest blade of grass to the mighty Brahma. May the sounds emanating from the nose of this MaayAvi VarAhan protect always the entire world and its beings! COMMENTS: VarAhAvatharam is known for BhUmi DhAraNam (Holding aloft BhUmi Devi proudly on His shoulders and the Singappal (Protruded teeth of a Lion). BhUmi Devi is addressed by Swamy Desikan as Bhagavathy with Six guNams that she shares with BhagavAn. As our Lord travels inside the ocean, He is generating the sounds of “ghur, Ghur” from His nostrils. With those sounds, He cleanses the universe and its beings of all dhOshms and sins. Such is the sacred nature of this GrANa dhvani, which is louder than the sounds of the waves of the PraLayam waters colliding with one other. The world becomes “pavithree krutham”. Sri Raghava PaatrAcchAr cites this purificatory process as an act of “avyAja karuNA” by the Lord. After all, He is a MaayAvi (KuhanA Pothri / Kaithava VarAhan). He is easily accessible and yet profound in His Vaibhavam. He blessed us with the VarAha Charama SlOkam to save us from the horrors of SamsAram. He protects the beings of the world with that anugraham at the request of BhUmi Devi. That shows Bhaktha Vaathsalyam. He is carrying the gigantic Bhumi DEvi on His tusk as a small tuber that a Varaham has just dug out from the ground below. Such is His unimaginable size. He is the PruTveedharan. He looks like a giant sized blue mountain lifting out of the depths of the Ocean.
Anbil GopAlAcchAr Swamy has the following observations: Sri Devi was gained through KoormAvatharam. He united with BhUmi DEvi, who was stolen by HiraNyAkshan by taking VarAhAvathAram. He shows His great affection for BhUmi
Devi by placing her over His chest, where MahA Lakshmi resides. He has the unimaginable hugeness in size as a VarAham (niradhisaya Bruhathvam). His sacred form was not only to bless the chEtanams at the time of avathAra kaalam but also for all times to come. That roopam of the Lord as Kola VarAhan is the embodiment of Vedams and Yaj~nams (“Thrayeemayam roopamidham Soukaram” as well as Yaj~na VarAha Roopam). He is the Aadhi VarAhan and BhU VarAhan as at Sri MushNam, Thiruvidaventhai dhivya dEsams He is Jn~AnappirAn. At VarAha KshEthrams, Our Lord holds aloft “Bhagavathy Viswambhari” to let the world know the treasure He retrieved her from the bottom of the Ocean with great pride. The Sahaja VarAha Moorthy making sounds typically associated with a VarAham (gONAravai: ghurgurai:) and holds with His Koraippal (DhamshtAnkuram) His divine consort. BhUmi Devi has a firm seat there. This MaayAvi VarAham has been described as a VarAham with a single horn (yEka Srunga VarAham). The relation between Bhumi (Earth) and BhUmA DEvi, its Mother has been visualized by Swamy Desikan as BhUmA DEvi blessing us with Bhumi (this verdant Earth) through sukha Prasavam during the VarAhAvathAram. Dr. V.N. VedAntha Desikan has a striking description of all what happened during the VarAhAvathAram: “Thus the (divine ) Boar (VarAham) “bore” one, who bears all from Brahma downwards”.
SLOKAM 5: NARASIMHAVATHARAM
PrathyAdhishta purAtana praharaNa grAma: kshaNam pANIjai: avyAth threeNi jaganthyakuNDa mahimA VaikunDa KaNDeerava: yath PrAdhurbhavanAth avandhya jaDarA yAdhrucchikAth vEdasAm yaa kAchith sahasA MahAsura gruhasTUNA pithAmahyabhUth
The key words (prayer) are again for the protection of all the three worlds and their beings by the Simha Roopa BhagavAn (SA: Vaikunta KaNDeerava: threeNi jaganthee avyAth).
MEANING: The Lord had to destroy HiraNyakasipu as “SthambhOthbahvan” with the power of His nails alone because of the boons granted by BrahmA to that asuran which granted him freedom from death caused by DevAs, Humans, Beasts or weapons. To respect those foolish boons granted by His son, our Lord incarnated in the ManLion form from the pillar in the house of HiraNyakasipu and used His nails to tear the asuran apart. Lord Narasimha left behind His ancient weapons (Disc, Conch, Sword, Bow and Mace) and used just His nails to destroy the asuran and blessed the BhAgavatha SiSu PrahlAdhan. The pillar in the house of the asuran got elevated thus to the loftiest status among all the other pillars in the world. That pillar lost its infertility. It became the grandmother by giving birth to the Lord, who is the Father of Brahma Devan. May this Narasimha BhagavAn protect all the three worlds!
COMMENTS: For a few moments, Lord Narasimhan gave prAdhAnyam (importance) to His nails and set aside His well trusted weapons like Sudarsana chakram. This was in deference to the boons granted earlier by Brahma to HiraNyakasipu, which freed him from fears about death from traditional causes. The Lord with “akunta MahimA” (unlimited Vaibhavam) side stepped the boons of Brahma and came up with a scheme to rid off the evil HiraNyakasipu, who had offended His dear Bhakthan.He just used His nails to destroy the asuran.He was neither a Man nor a beast or a DEvan in this avathAram He was half-lion and half-man. He did not use any traditional aayudham. He killed the asuran during SandhyA Kaalam while seated on the steps of the palace. He did not thus violate any boon granted earlier by Brahma to the asuran. Lord Narasimhan arose out of a pillar the moment the asuran hit it while asking whether PrahlAdhan's Lord was in that pillar as well. He came out of there (PrAthurbhavanam) and made the pillar become fertile by giving birth to the Lord, who is the Father of all including Brahma. The oft-quoted slOkam from Srimath BhAgavatham celebrating the Lord's action in a trice to make sure that His devotee's words stay true is: “Satyam vidhAthum nija bhruthya bhAshitham vyApthim cha bhUthEshvakhilEshu chAthmana: adhrusyathAth-adhbhutha roopam udhvahan sthambhE sabhAyAm na mrugam na mAnusham” This SimharaaD arose instantaneously, when HiraNyan hit the pillar in his sabhA asking his son to show whether the Sarva VyApi Lord was residing in that pillar:
“HiraNya-kara ghaDDithAth sapadhi jrumbhitha: stambhatha:”. Thus, He became SthambhOthbhavan and jumped out of there with His attahAsams that instilled terror in the heart of HiraNyan, who had the foolishness to fight the Lord instead of surrendering to Him as an aparAdhi. For that adhbhutha Kesari, His nails alone (nakhamEva) were the Balam (source of destruction of the asuran). The traditional weapons appealed: we are here at your beck and call for destroying your enemies (chathrum praharthum vayamAsmahE). We are Your PurAtana (ancient) weapons. Please use us. Our Lord set aside those ancient weapons of His (PrathyA purAtana praharaNa grAma:) and told them that He has to be separated from them for a few moments until His avathAra kaaryam was completed (“KshaNamAthram bhavadhbhi: madh-viSlEsham sahya:”). I will call you back in a few seconds. All of you indeed are my permanent weapons (bhavath-adhikAra: sTiram)! PrahlAdhA's words have to be maintained in an unfalsified state (“PrahlAdhasya gira: pramANana vidhou dhivyAkruthi: stambhathO niryAtha:”). Our Lord incarnated, took on an adhiadhbhuta Sundara roopam (Naarasimha Vapu: SrIman Kesava: PurushOtthama:), destroyed the asuran and then invited Bhaktha PrahlAdhan to come near Him and placed His auspicious hand on the child's head (PrahlAdha AahlAdhanam as TeLLiya Singham). Swamy Desikan prays to this Adhbhutha Sundara Simham to bless all the three worlds (Adhbhutha Sundara Vapu: pradarSanEnAvanam prArTayathE). He is “Naarasimha Vapu: SrImAn” according to Sri VishNu Sahasra Naamam. Sri GopAlAcchAr Swamy points out: “The Naarasimha sabdham will create fear in the minds of some”. Hence, Srimath sabdham is added next (Naarasimha Vapu: SrImAn) to invite our attention to His soundharyam and soulabhyam (as MalOlan). This avathAram is glorious for many reasons and the Lord's Mahimai is akunDam (Limitless). This avathAram lasted only a few seconds (KshaNikOyam idham avathAra:). The enemy of His bhakthan was killed and His Bhakthan was made blissful through this prAthurbhAvam. The anugraham to the three worlds was accomplished and all of this was achieved in a few Seconds. That is why Swamy Desikan celebrates the glories of Nrusimhan as “akunDa mahimA of the VaikunDa KaNDeeravan”). PrahlAdhan declared Hari is every where (Hari: Sarvathra). The Lord had to hold His bhakthan's statement as true before the interrogating and unbelieving asuran (Sathya parishakan). The Lord, who is sarva vyApi jumped out of the pillar hit by the asuran and made all the worlds “Nrusimha garbham” (“noonam ThrailOkyamEvam
Nrusimha garbham”). Asura nirasanam (dhushta samhAram) and Saadhu ParithrANam were demonstrated by our Lord in a second. Both His ThirunAmam and His Roopam are indeed gambheera SrI.
SLOKAM 6: VAAMANAVATHARAM
vreeDAviddha vadhAnya dhAnava yasOnAseera dhADee bhaDa: thrayaksham makuDam punnanavathu nasthravikramO vikrama: yath prasthAva samucchritha dhvaja paDee vrutthAntha siddhAnthibhi: srOthObhi: surasindhurashtasu disA soudhEshu dhOdhuyathE
The prayer housed in this slOkam relating to Vaamana-Thrivikrama avathAram is: “Thraivikrama: Vikrama: na: avathu” (May the holy foot steps of Thrivikraman protect us).
MEANING: The sacred step of Thrivikraman held the tail end of the army known as the fame of Emperor MahA Bali. That fame of MahA Bali was well established from His bounteousness /immense generosity to all those who approached him for Yaachakam. He was put to shame however by the puny request of three measures of land that Vaamana BrahmachAri sought from him. That lajja of MahA Bali caused by His alpa yAchakam impressed BhagavAn so much that made the Lord run like a servant of Bali to spread his glory all around. May those sacred steps of Vaamana- Thrivikraman protect us all! Those steps of the Lord consecrated and sanctified the head of Siva through the fall of the waters of GangA on Lord SivA's matted locks. GangA had originated from the act of Brahma washing the feet of Thrivikrama with waters from his kamandalu, when those feet reached Brahma Lokam. May those steps linked to the divine Ganga pravAham protect us all! That Deva Ganga was like a Jaya dhvajam waving in all eight directions. Swamy Desikan visualizes the swift flow of Paavana Ganga with froth and foam as the white flag flying aloft in the sky to celebrate the OudhAryam of Bali Chakravarthy. COMMENTS: MahA Bali felt shameful that Vaamana Brahmachari asked for so little (Three measures of land) from him. That lajja of Emperor MahA Bali arose as a reaction to the svalpa yaachanam of the dwarf BrahmachAri. He was used to giving much more. He had developed a lasting fame based on his matchless generosity. That genuine lajja displayed by Bali impressed the Lord so much that He spread the fame of Bali in all lokams where His steps ( Vikrama: ) reached after He transformed into Thrivikrama roopam for lOka VikrAntham. That dhvarai (urgency) of the Lord to spread MahA Bali's fame was like the act of the servant of the king running to spread the king's fame. Our Lord's measurement of the world all the way upto aNDa kaDakam with His fast moving step is celebrated by the Vedam as “PaadhOasya ViswA bhUthAni”, “ya: PaarTivAni vimamE rajAmsi, yOaskabhAyadhuttharam sadhastham vichakramANa: trEdhOrugAya:”. Swamy ParAsara Bhattar visualizes Vedam broadcasting the Vaibhavam of Thrivikrama like the beating of a DinDima Vaadhyam (a loud Percussion instrument /BhEri Vaadhyam). The measuring steps were Thrivikrama Sambhandhi and hence are saluted as “ThraivikramO Vikrama:” They confer Sivathvam/ Subhathvam and MangaLathvam on whatever it touched. The water from the Kamandalu of Brahma became consecrated and attained Sivathvam. The Siras of Lord Siva attained Sivathvam from the sambhandham of those waters from DEva Ganga. These are results of Thrivikrama Padha KraMaNam. Swamy Desikan prays for the sacred steps of the Lord that sanctified Lord SivA's head to protect us.
SLOKAM 7: PARASURAMAVATHARAM
krOdhAgnim Jamadhagni prrDana bhavam samtarpayishyan kramAth akshathrAmiha santhataksha ya imAm thrissaptha kruthva: kshithim dhatthvA karmaNi dakshiNAm kkvachanatAm Aaskandhya sindhum vasan aBrahmaNyam apAkarOthu BhagavAn AaBrahmakeeDam muni:
The key words of this slOkam are: Sa: Muni: AaBrahma-keetam aBrahmaNyam apAkarOthu” (May this venerable Sage remove inauspiciousness from the mighty BrahmA to the lowly worm).
MEANING: There was once a king by the name of Kaarthaveeryan, who insulted the father of the Brahmin, ParasurAman. The name of the father of ParasurAman was Jamadhagni. ParasurAman was enraged over the haughtiness of the king and killed the king. The sons of the king took revenge and killed Sage Jamadhagni, when ParasurAman was not home. When ParasurAman learnt about the cowardice of the sons of the king, He became wild with anger and chopped off the heads of the King's sons and destroyed 21 generations of Kings (KshathriyAs) thereafter. He performed tarpaNams for his father with the blood of the slain kings. Next, ParasurAman gave away all the lands that he had inherited from the kings to Sage Kasyapa in a Yaagam as dakshiNai. He felt thereafter that he can not live in the land that He had given away. Next, He threw his axe into the ocean and the water receded. New land became available. This is today's KeraLa or ParasurAma dEsam. Swamy Desikan prays to the heroic ParasurAman to protect all the janthus from Brahma to the lowly worm from harm's way. COMMENTS: The KrOdhAgni (the fire of anger) of ParasurAma lit by the sons of Kaartaveeryan through the killing of His father ( KrOdhAgni Jamadhagni peeDana bhavam) was quenched by making the world free of KshathriyAs by destroying 21 generations of them (KrOdhAgnim santarpayishyan imAm kshithim iha akshatthhrAm thrissapthakruthva: kramAth santhathaksha). Later, ParasurAman gave away all the lands that He inherited to Kasyapa Munivar as DakshiNai in a Yaj~nam (kvachana karmaNi thAmm dakshiNAm dhathvA) and lived in the new land retrieved from te ocean (Sindhum Aaskandhya vasan BhagavAn Muni:). May this Muni destroy all the amangaLams from BrahmA to the lowly worm (BHagavAn Muni: AbrahmaNyam apAkarOthu)!
SLOKAM 8: RAAMAVATHARA VARNANAM
pArAvAra payO visOshaNa kalA pAreeNa kAlAnala- jwAlA jAla vihAra hAri visikha vyApAra ghOra krama: sarvAvasTa sakruth prapanna janathA samrakshaNaika Vrathee dharmO vigrahavAn adharma virathim dhanvee sa Tanveetha na:
The key words of this slOkam are: “sakruth prapanna janathA samrakshaNa yEka vrathee vigrahavAn dharma: dhanvee Sa: na: adharma vrirathim tanveetha” (Lord Raamachandran is a matchless archer and the embodiment of dharmam. His sole vow is to protect every one, who has surrendered to Him even once. May Raamachandran of this renown bless us to be freed from adharmam of every kind). The prayer here is: “adharma virathy roopam Subham AatanaOthu, bhava saagara virathim tanOthu”.
MEANING: Lord Raamachandran is a matchless archer. He is the embodiment of dharmam. He is dharma svaroopi. The fierce power of His arrows has no match. He performed Prapatthi to Samudhra Raajan to get permission to build a dam over the sea to reach LankA. Samudra Raajan did not pay attention since he thought that Lord Raamachandran was a mere mortal. The anger of spurned Raamachandran grew multifold. He began to set His arrows to dry up the ocean. His arrows had the power of KaalAgni and could evaporate the waters of the ocean and kill all the fish and other aquatic janthus living in that ocean. Raghu Veeran of this Vaibhavam will never abandon anyone, who sought His feet as rakshaNam. It is His vratham to come to their rescue. May this Sarva lOka SaraNyan free us from the lure of adharmams!
COMMENTS: The two Vaibhavams of Lord Raamachandra are celebrated in this slOkam: (1) the power of His arrows (2) His display of Achyutha tatthvam in the case of SaraNAgathAs. The first two paadhams of this slOkam describe the fierceness of His arrows: They have the power and skills to dry up the waters of the ocean (PaarAvAra Paya: viSOshaNa kalA pAreeNam). The assembly of these unfailing and fierce arrows appears as thought they have stolen the flames of the unimaginably destructive KaalAgni (KaalAnala jwAlA jAla vihAra haaree ViSikha vyApAra ghOra krama:). The third paadham celebrates His SaraNAgatha Vratham (abhaya PradhAna vow). He never abandons any janthu that sought His protection even once in any state (mithra bhAvEna samprAptham or not). That is His sole vratham (SarvAvastha sakruth prapanna janatha samrakshaNa yEka vrathee). This KodhaNDapANi is the embodiment of the dharmams/ Rutham/righteousness (Sa dhanvee VigrahavAn dharma:). May that Veera Raaghavan of matchless valour free us from all adharmams ! The vow of Raamachandran as the Sarva lOka SaraNyan was declared by Him in the Yuddha KaaNDam of Srimath RaamAyaNam (18.33): “sakruthEva PrapannAya TavAsmeethi cha YaachathE abhayam sarvabhUthEbhyO dadhAmyEthath vratham Mama” The major message from this avathAram is “SaraNAgathy roopa sookshma dharma prakAsanam”. The avathAram was to establish that SaraNAgathy dharmam.
SLOKAM 9: BALARAMAVATHARAM
pakkath kourava paDDaNa prabhrutaya: prAstha pralamBhadhaya: tAlAngasya TaTAvidhA vihrutayas-tanvanthu bhadhrANi na: ksheeram SarkarayEva yaabhirapruTakbhUthaa: prabhUthairguNai: akoumArakam asvadantha jagathE KrushNasya taa: kElaya:
The key prayer housed in this slOkam is: “tAlAnkasya vihrutaya: na: bhadhrANi tanvanthu” ( May the sports of BalarAma shower auspiciousness on us all).
MEANING: Our Lord took on an avathAram as the elder of Krishna. This amsa avathAram is known as BalarAmAvathAram. In this avathAram, BalarAman was never separated from His younger brother, KaNNan, even for a short time. He “protected” his younger brother all the time. BalarAma had the plough as His weapon and palm tree as the emblem in His flag. The Kourava kings had the city of HasthinApuram as their capitol. Once; the angry BalarAman pulled the whole city of HasthinApuram with His plough and dumped it in the river Yamuna. He killed asurans like Pralambhan, who came to Gokulam to harm KrishNan during His younger days. The leelAs of BalarAma and KaNNan have to be tasted independently. When the two are bended together for full anubhavam, the combined Leelais have the enhancement of sweetness of the milk by addition of Sugar to it. May the delectable leelAs of BalarAma shower us with MangaLams! COMMENTS: Sri Anbil GopAlAcchAr Swamy's comments: Like ParasurAmAvathAram, the BalarAmAvathAram is that of a Seeshan (The liege of the Lord). KrishNaavathAram and RaamvathAram are those of the Seshi ( The Lord). Both are “Karshakars” or the pullers. BalarAman pulled HasthinApuram into the river and cast it away in the river YamunA. KrishNa pulled the mortar and brought down the two YamaLa trees in His garden. The relationship between KaNNan and BalarAman is mutually reinforcing to increase the sweetness like adding Sugar to milk. Seshi is the milk and Seshan is the Sugar. Their union is mutually rewarding. Seshan makes the Seshi sweeter by joining the Seshi. “SEsha-Seshi relationship, togetherness and conjunction --all make for greater delectability -- as sugar admixed with milk”. BalarAman's other name is Balabhadhran. In this context, Swamy Desikan prays for Bhadhram: “TaaLangasya vihrutaya: na: bhadhrANi tanvanthu”.
SLOKAM 10: KRISHNAVATHARAM
nATAyaiva nama: padham bhavathu na: chithrai: charithra kramai: bhUyObhir bhuvanAnyamUni kuhanA gOpAya gOpAyathE KaaLindhee rasikAya kALiya PhaNi sphAra sphaDA vaaDikA- rangOthsanga viSanka chankrama dhurA paryAya charyA: yathE
The key words in this slOkam are: “kuhanA gOpAya NaaTAya na: nama: padham bhavathu” (May our nama: sabdham be for our Lord, who has put on the appearance of a cowherd).
MEANING: KaNNan performed wondrous deeds as the Protector of all the worlds. As the One who enjoyed His sports on the banks of Yamuna River, He danced fearlessly on the broad hoods of the serpent KaaLiyan as if they were a dance stage without any fear. May our NamskaraNams expressed through the nama: sabdham be for our Lord alone, who has taken on the role of a cowherd!
COMMENTS: Sriman NaarAyaNan incarnated in the simple cowherd kulam to demonstrate His easy accessibility to one and all. During this avathAram as a simple cowherd, He performed wondrous deeds that can not even be imagined by anyone. He enjoyed many sports on the banks of river YamunA. Those leelAs delighted the hearts of those who were blessed to see them during His avathAra kaalam and has become a source of reflection for the people to gain sathgathi. In a pond in the middle of the center of river Yamuna, the snake by the name of KaaLiyan was spilling poison and causing death to all, who came into contact with the waters of the pond? There Kaliyan lived with his wives and caused terror to all. KaNNan jumped on the broad hoods of KaaLiyan and used them as the dance stage without any fear. Kaliyan was taught a lesson and his wives begged the Lord to spare their husband's life. Our Lord agreed and Kaliyan gave up his old way of life and moved on to another section of Yamuna. Swamy Desikan wonders about the mighty heroic deeds of the Lord during KrishNAvathAram and expresses the wish that all of our NamaskArams be directed to Him alone.
Sri Anbil GopAlAchAr Swamy has some fascinating observations on this slOkam passages: 1. KrishNa nAmam is Moksha PurushArTa Saadhanam and Saadhana Phala sTAnam. 2. KrishNa naamam is the indicator of Parathvam of Sriman NaarAyaNan. 3. KrishNa nAmam is the irrefutable proof for Lord's soulabhya, Souseelya GuNams. 4. In this PoorNa avathAram, Parabrahmathvam (Being the Supreme Lord of all) and Bruhathvam (gigantic vaibhavam of the avathAram based on many miraculous deeds) are well established. He is Para Brahmam in reality but for the sake of avathAram, He incarnated as a simple cowherd (KuhanA Gopan).
SLOKAM 11: KALKI AVATHARAM
bhAvinyA daSayA bhavanniha bhava-dhvamsAya na: kalpathAm Kalki VishNuyasas-sutha: Kali kaTA kAlushya koolankasha: niSSEsha kshatha kaNDakE kshithi talE dhArA jaloukair dhruvam dharmam Kaartayugam prarOhayathy Yann-nisthrimsa dhArAdhara:
The key words in this slOkam are: “bhAvinyA daSayA Kalki iha bhavan na: bhava dhvamsAya kalpathAm” (May Kalki who will be taking a future avathAram be active in destroying our samsAric bonds, while He will be with us).
MEANING: Kalki BhagavAn is going to incarnate as the son of the Brahmin by the name of VishNu Yasas with the purpose of destroying the agitations (anAchAram, Naastheekam) caused by terrors of the Kali Purushan. Kalki is going to ride on a white horse and with the sword in His hand is going to rid the world of all sinners and bring back the glories of Krutha Yugam when righteousness rules perfect. The sword in Kalki BhagavAn's hand is going to destroy adharmam and facilitate the ascent of the superior Krutha dharma yugam. May this future avathAram of the Lord as Kalki BhagavAn cut asunder the bonds of ours to SamsAric sufferings! COMMENTS: So far, Swamy Desikan slauted the nine avathArams of the Lord that had taken place. The tenth avathAram of the Lord as Kalki, as the son of VishNuyasas from the city of SampaLam is yet to happen. When KaNNan completed His avathAram and ascended to Sri Vaikuntam, Kali yugam started. Since that time, the terror of Kali Purushan has increased and adharmam is on the ascent in an accelerated manner. AnAchAram, Naastheekyam, ill will to others and all other inauspicious guNams dominate. The number of sinners is on the increase. Great calamities are yet to happen at the end of Kali yugam. It is at that time Kalki BhagavAn is going to incarnate, ride on a white horse with sword in hand to destroy all sinners and reestablish the benevolent Krutha Yuga VarNAsrama dharmams again. Swamy Desikan prays for the blessings of Kalki BhagavAn to destroy our SamsAra Bhandhams. OBSERVATIONS OF SRI ANBIL GOPALACCHAR SWAMY: 1. the most ancient among the avathArams of the Lord is the VeLLai Parimukhar or Lord Hayagreevan. In Kalki avathAram, Kalki Bhagavan is riding on a while horse named Kalkam. 2. Kalki avathAram is to restore the dharmams, which had taken a powerful beating in Kali Yugam and bring them back to the ideal level of Krutha Yugam.
SLOKAM 12: COMBINED AVATHARA VARNANAM
IcchA-Meena VihAra-Kacchapa MahA-pOthrin YadhrucchA-HarE: rakshA-Vaamana rOshA-Raama KaruNA- KaakthsTa hElAhalin kreeDA-vallava Kalka Vaahana dasA Kalkinnithi prathyaham jalpantha: PurushA: punanthy bhuvanam puNyougha paNyApaNA: sadagopan.org
This is a gem of a slOkam of Swamy Desikan that displays His genius as a poet to summarize the essence of each of the ten avathArams of the Lord with a unique adjective (epithet). At the end of this slOkam, Swamy Desikan points out those who repeatedly recite even the names of the ten avathAra Moorthys with their unique visEshaNams attributed to them would sanctify this earth.
COMMENTS: This is an anusandhAnam, which eulogizes all the ten avathArams of the Lord in one slOkam. Until now, Swamy Desikan has been saluting one avathAram at a time. Now, Swamy Desikan facilitates the enjoyment of all the ten avathArams in one slOkam and points out the essence of each of these avathArams. He shifts from “prathyEka sthuthi” to “samudhAya keerthanam” of all the avathArams. Ten different aspects of VisishtAdhvaitha anubhavam is had from this samudhAya (collective) keerthanA-roopa namskaraNams of the DasAvathArams of the Lord according to Anbil GopAlAcchAr Swamy. Swamy Desikan reveals that those who recite the names of the DasAvathAra Moorthys saluted by this slOkam will accumulate heaps of PuNyams and sanctify the world through their existence. Each of these NaamAs chosen by Swamy Desikan is a gem in its own right and reveals the quintessence of these ten avathArams. Let us study them now: 1. “IcchA Meena”: The Fish form taken by the Lord out of His own will and love. 2. “VihAra Kacchabha”: A form taken for the sport of the Lord. “viharathE Deva: sahaiva SriyA:” Koormam is the reminiscent of prathyAhAra angam of the AshtAnga yOgam, which is essential for dhyAnam. Tortoise is the one, who pulls its angams (limbs) inside and it is therefore connected to KoormAsanam (as the KoormAsanam used by Swamy Desikan at Sathyagalam for his dhyAnam) and is important. 3. “MahA pOthrin”: This naamam of “MahA pOthrin” is linked to the Bruhathvam (Hugeness /Vastness of His glories) of the Lord. 4. “YadhrucchA HarE”: This is a form, which was totally unexpected. He is Hari always But the form of Lion was unexpected. 5. “RakshA Vaamana”: As VaamAnan, He protected all. Indhran who lost his kingdom sought the Lord’s protection. Vaamanan protected Indhran, the three worlds and even MahA Bali, who became a Chiranjeevi. Our Lord Vaamanan kept MahA Bali alive. That Is His rakshA sankalpam. 6. “ROsha Raama”: Jamadhagni's puthran, who was “pure and simple wrath incarnate”. He destroyed 21 generations of KashathriyAs.
7. “KaruNA KaakusTa”: Instead of addressing this avathAra purushan as “Raamaa”, Swamy Desikan salutes Him as “KaakusTan”. Swamy had earlier addressed ParasurAman, the amsAvathAran as “rOsha Raaman”. Hence, Anbil GopAlaacchAr Swamy speculates that Swamy Desikan saluted DasarathAmajan as “KaakuTsthan” instead of “Raaman”. 8. “hElA Halin”: Halam is the plough, which is the weapon of BalarAman. “HElA” means playful. BalarAman used His weapon, the mighty plough playfully. 9. “KreeDa vallava kuhanA gOpa”: This is an avathAram “devoted to ever-sportful life”. Baala Krredai, Raasa Kreedai, Jala Kreedai are some of His chEshtithams. 10. “Kalka Vaahana daSA Kalkin”: Kalkam means a white horse. This is the avathAram that is yet to happen. This slOkam is the nigamana slOkam for the DaSAvathAra SthOthram. Swamy reveals that anyone who repeats the dasAvathara Naamams even without bhAvam or devotion would sanctify the world and its beings. They will accumulate heaps of PuNyams. Thus the prabhAvam of this slOkam is highlighted.
SLOKAM 13: PHALA SRUTHI
vidhyOdhanvathy VenkatEswara Kavou Jaatham jaganmangaLam dEvEsasya dasAvathara vishayam sthOthram vivakshEtha Ya: vakthrE tasya Sarasvathee Bahumukhee bhakthi: parA mAnasE Suddhi: kaa-api tanou dhiSAsudaSasu khyAthi: SubhA jrumbhathE
In this slOkam, Swamy Desikan describes the fruits gained by the recitation of the DasAvathAra sthOthram. Phala lAbham is indicated in this Phala Sruthi slOkam. (COMMENTARY): This DaSAvathAra sthOthram is about the glories of the ten avathArams of the DevAthidEvan, Lord RanganAthan. This sthOthram arose from the lips of VenkatEsa kavi with the sankalpa balam of Lord RanganAtha. The recitation of this sthOthram will confer sarva vidha Mangalams. If anyone wishes even to recite this SthOthram, Devi Saraswathy will sit on his tongue and bless him to compose beautiful poems. His mind will be filled with bhakthi. His body will glow with purity and lustre. Thus, his Manas-Speech and body are all blessed. His glory will spread in all directions.
Daasan, Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan