Sri Hayagriva Stothram – 1


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SrI HayagrIvar - Srinivasa Perumal Koil, Mylapore - Desikan Sannidhi


We meditate upon that Supreme One, who has the neck and face of a horse and who is the embodiment of Jn~AnA (divine Knowledge) and AnandhA (Bliss). He has a ThirumEni (body) like a radiant, blemishless Spatikam (Crystal) and is the abode of all VidhyAs (branches of Learning).

This slOkam set in the Vedic anushtup meter is the dhyAna slOkam for BhagavAn HayagrIvan. The Madhva Sampradhya AchAryAs also use this slOkam as the DhyAna slOkam for their upAsanais. A great HayagrIva UpAsaka by the name of VaadhirAja Theerthar of Udippi Sri KrishNa Mutt used to meditate on Sri HayagrIvan, while holding cooked horse oats (KoLLU) on his head and Lord Hayagrivan approached His upAsakan as the most beautiful white Horse and partook the naivEdhyam noisily. This happened every day at Udippi, when Sri VaadhirAja Theerthar invoked Lord HayagrIvan during his AarAdhanam.

For the HayagrIva UpAsakAs, Sri VaasudEva-AnuruddhAmsa HayagrIvan is meditated upon in this manner:

“na HayagrIvAth Param asthi MangaLam na HayagrIvAth Param asthi Paavanam na
HayagrIvAth param asthi Dhaivatham na HayagrIvam PraNipathya seedhathi”

This slOkam is modelled by adiyEn after the one, which starts with “na VaasudEvAth Paramasthi MangaLaM –”.


There is no other auspiciousness, which is greater than HayagrIvan; there is nothing more sacred than Sri HayagrIvan to destroy our accumulated sins; there is no God superior to HayagrIvan; No one grieves after performing SaraNAgathi at the sacred feet of HayagrIvan. Such is the MahAthmyam of this Veda Moorthy. He is the AkarArthan. He is the all-protecting AkAra SvarUpan. Akaaram is the first letter in the Pranavam and as such, the meaning of akAram is recognized in Vaaman PurAnam as:

“akArENa akhilAdhAra: ParamathmA abhidhIyathE”


Akaaram represents BhagavAn, who is the aadhAram (Support) for every thing. This akAram can then be extrapolated to Sarva-vyApaka NaarAyaNa-HayagrIvan by HayagrIva UpAsakAs. He is then “the sarva rakshaNa Dhikshitha” HayagrIvan. As akAra Vaachyan, He is never with out MahA Lakshmi. Parodying a Lakshmi Tanthra SthOthram, adiyEn would like to observe: “LakshmyA Saha HayagrIvO DevyA KaaruNya RoopayA Rakshaka: Sarva SiddhAnthE VedAnthEapi geeyathE”


All PaancharAthra SiddhAnthams and VedAnthams (Upanishads) declare with a single voice that the Lord (HayagrIvan/VishNu/NaarAyaNan) protects this world and its beings together with the embodiment of Mercy, MahA Lakshmi, His beloved Consort. Therefore, when we think of Sri Hayagrivan, He is always visualized as LakshmI HayagrIvan, the archA moorthy worshipped today by the YathIsvarALs of ParakAla matam. This dhivya mangaLa vigraham is the One presented to AchArya RaamAnujA by Sarasvathi Devi at Kashmir and worshipped later by Swami Desikan Himself.

“Jn~Anandamayam dEvam, nirmala spaTikAkruthim” is the first Paadham of the HayagrIva sthOthra slOkam set in the Vedic Anushtup meter. Let us reflect on the “Jn~Aanandhamaya Devan” first.


Brahma Soothrams declare that Brahman is the embodiment of Bliss (aanandhamayam). The eight SoothrAs housed in Aanandha-mayAdhikaraNam (Brahma Soothrams I.1.13 and the following) is a condensation of the Aanandhamaya Brahma VivaraNam found in TaittirIya Upanishad. The main Brahma soothram (I.1.13) describing Brahman and NOT Jeevan as the embodiment of Bliss principle is: “aanandhamaya: abhyAsAth”.. I.1.13

AchArya RaamAnujA devotes many pages for interpreting the deep meanings of this particular soothram dealing with the “Aaananda Mayam” of Brahman. This is the Bliss recognized as Brahman beyond the scope of humans and celestials. The above and the subsequent seven soothrams convey the siddhAntham that Brahman is full of Bliss (aanandha mayam). The distinguishing characteristics of this JnAnandha Maya Brahman based on Brahma SoothrAs has been elaborated under the following 8 categories by Dr.S.M.S.Chari in his scholarly treatise “The Philosophy of the VedAntha SoothrAs” this way:

1. Brahman as SarvAthmA or the Self of all
2. Brahman as AttA or the Eater
3. Brahman as the AntharyAmin or the inner controller
4. Brahman as the Akshara or the Imperishable reality
5. Brahman as VaisvAnarA or the Ruler of All souls
6. Brahman as Aayatana Or the abode of Heaven and Earth
7. Brahman as BhUmA or the Infinitely great
8. Brahman as DaharAkAsan or the dweller in the subtle space within the human heart Sri VedAntha Desikan invoked all these meanings and attributes of Brahman by addressing Veda Moorthy, Sri HayagrIvan as “Jn~Anandha Mayam devam” at the very first quarter of the two Line slOkam. This Jn~Anam linked with Aanandham has to be connected with the Famous TaittirIya Upanishad Passage:

“Sathyam Jn~Anam anantham BrahmA”

This means that savisEsha Brahman, Sri Lakshmi HayagrIvan is with the distinguishing attributes of Reality (sathyam), Knowledge (Jn~Anam) and Infinitude (anantham). We focused on the “Jn~Anandamayathvam” with particular emphasis on the Aanndha Maya SarIram of Sri HayagrIvan. Now, we will discuss the Jn~Anam, Nirmalam and the SpatikAkruthi aspects saluted in the first Paadham of the First slOkam:

“Jn~Ananda Mayam Devam nirmala spatikAkruthIm”

Earlier, adiyEn pointed out that JnAnathvam is one of the five defining guNams of Isvaran and it is a SvarUpa NirUpaka VisEshaNa guNam. With this Isvarathvam of Sri HayagrIvan in mind, Swamy Desikan saluted right away the Lord in front of him as the embodiment of Isvara Tatthvam with the words: “Jn~Ananada Mayam Devam”. The choice of the word “Mayam” after “JnAnandha” is very important. He (Lord HayagrIvan) is not just of the form (indicator) of Knowledge-Bliss principle, but He is full of it (Jn~Ana and Aanandha MAYAN).


He is indeed Devan, DevAthi Devan, DevanAthan and Deva Raajan. He is Deva adhinAthan. He is “Dhvisath niyanthu” (One who commands and directs the DevAs and protects them); He is “Anantha-GaruthmadhAdhyai: aj~nAtha seemakan” (The Devan whose glories are not fully understood even by the nithyasooris like AdhisEshan and GaruDan). He is “amarar adhipathi”. He is “ViBhudha yEka Naathan” (TannoppArillappan). He is Thridasa Naathan. He is Nirjara Pathi. He is Sura pathi. He is Suparva Naathan (Deva Naathan). He is VaimAnika-Adhipan (Lord of those celestials, who travel in the Sky). Such is the power behind the mild looking word, “Devan” chosen by Swami Desikan to salute the “Jn~Ananda Maya Devan”. Swamy Desikan had the Sevai of DEvanAtha perumAL of ThiruvahIdhrapuram prior to sitting under the pupil tree on Oushadha Giri to meditate upon Sri HayagrIvan. Hence, the many words used by Swamy Desikan to salute Deva Naatha PerumAL in Deva Naayaka Panchasath are relatable to this Jn~Anandha Maya dEvan, Sri HayagrIvan.


“JnAnandha Mayam devam nirmala SpatikAkruthim” is the first Paadham of the first slOkam. AdiyEn will focus now on the choice of the word “Nirmala” Devan by Swamy Desikan. “Nirmala” resonates with the words used by ThiruppANAzhwAr in the first paasuram of His AmalanAdhipirAn. There, AzhwAr uses the words “Amalan, Vimalan and Nirmalan”. The word used by Swamy Desikan in his “Sri HayagrIva SthOthram” (viz)., “Devam Nirmalam” means that Sri HayagrIvan is blemishless in His GuNams. He is “MalaprahtibHaDan” (Opposite scale of DhOshams). According to Swamy Desikan, Nirmalathvam indicates Moksha Pradhathvam (Power to grant Moksha Sukham). As Nirmalan, He is sarvOpakArakan. He is Nithya NirdhOshan (For ever free from deficencies). He is Ubhaya Linga VibUthi Naathan (with two identification marks). One of them is “Akhila hEya prathyaneekathvam” (untouched by impurities or dhOshams of any kind: nirmala dEvan). The other is “anantha KalYANa guNAkarathvam” (abode of infinite auspicious attributes). This is the way that the Ubhayalinga AdhikaraNam of Brahma Soothram describes “the Nirmala dEvan”.

Nirmala Spatika Aakruthim Devam:

His hue is that of a blemishless, spotless White (Thooya PaLinku). He also wears a spotless white Vasthram unlike the golden-hued pIthAmbharam that is worn by Sri RanganAthan. The references for the PeethAmbharam are: “andhi pOl NiRatthAdai” of ThiruppAnar and “padichOthiyAdaiodum palkalanAi ninn paimpoRkaDicchOthi kalanthathuvO” of Swamy NammazhwAr. Swamy Desikan states clearly that Sri HayagrIvan’s hue is a spotless white clad in a spotles white vasthram as the First Lord of Vidhyais.

Swamy Desikan salutes thus the Upanishad Saaram, Sri HayagrIvan as “Jn~Anandha Mayam Devam, Nirmala SpatikAkruthim HayagrIvam UpAsmahE”. This is very much in the spirit of the Brahma Soothram 3.3.11 (AanandhAdaya: PrahdAnasya). This Soothram points out that Bliss (Aanandham), Knowledge (Jn~Anam), stainlessness (Nirmalam) etc are the essential attributes of the One and only SavisEsha Brahman and any meditation of such a Brahman should include the Jn~Anandha Nirmala GuNams, which are part of the SvarUpa NiruPitha VisEshaNa guNams of One, who is Isvaran.

Such is the grandeur of the Vision of Swamy Desikan as he starts his salutation of Lord HayagrIvan. Now, let us focus on the second Paadham of Sri HayagrIva SthOthram saluting Him as “AadhAram Sarva VidhyAnAm” (as the foundation for all the VidhyAs, Para and Apara vidhyAs). There is a slOkam in Sri Hayagriva Sahasra Naamam that connects the Suddha Spatika Roopam of Lord HayagrIvan that sends out in all directions the amrutha (nectarine) kiranams (waves) of Jn~Anam like the cool rays of the Full Moon:

“Chandra MaNDala madhyasTha SvEthAmbhoruha Vishtara: jyOthsnAyamAnaanga
ruchi nirdhUtha-anthar-bahis-tama:”

Here, Sri HayagrIvan is visualized as being seated in the middle of cool Chandra maNDalam on a spotless, white Lotus; He drives away the inner and outer darkness (Tamas) that engulfs one with His rejuvenating radiance. This He does with His dhivya KatAksham alone. This Tamo-haran (destroyer of Aj~nam) is saluted again beautifully by the following section of

Sri HayagrIva AshtOtthara SthOthram:

aj~nana naasakO Jn~Ani PoorNachandra sama prabha:
Jn~adhO Vaakpathir yOgi yOgisa: sarvakAmadha:
MahA yOgi MahA Mouni MounIsa: SrEyasAmpathi:
Hamsa: Paramahamsasccha ViswagOpthA VirAD SvaarAD
Suddha Spatika sankAsO JaDAmaNDala samyutha:
AadhimadhyAntharahitha: Sarva VaagIsvarEsvara:

These passages of Sri HayagrIva AshtOttharam salute Sri HayagrIvan as: the Destroyer of Ajn~Anam (Aj~na naasakan), Jn~Ani, MahA Yogi, Yogisan, Jn~Ana Daayakan for Yogis, Parama Hamsa AvathAran, who incarnated as the Swan to teach the VedAs to Brahmaa, His son, just as a Swan can separate Saaram (Milk) from AsAram (water), Aadhi-madhya -antha rahithan (One, who has neither beginning nor middle nor end), ViswagOpthA (Protector of this world from Aj~nam and ViparItha Jn~Anam), VirAD-SvarAD (VirAd Purushan of Purusha Sooktham and undisputed Emperor of the Universe created by Him), SrEyasAM pathi: (the Lord of ALL auspiciousness), Suddha Spatika sankAsan (With the blemishless hue and lustre of Spatikam) Sarva VaagIsvarEsvaran (The Emperor of all gods of Knowledge) and MahA Mouni, MounIsan (The great silent Teacher, who imparts knowledge even without verbal instruction).

These passages put in perspective the Sarva VidhyA Aadhara svarUpam of Lord HayagrIvan.


One of the Sri HayagrIva Sahasra Naamam gives a clue: “Veda VedAntha SaasthrArtha Tatthva VyAkhyAna TathparAya nama:” (The One, who is exclusively devoted to and eagerly engaged in the interpretation of the deeper meanings of Vedams, Upanishads, Saasthrams and Tatthvams for the AchArya SaarvabhoumAs/ PandithAs and PaamarAs). In MunDaka Upanishad, there is a conversation between Angiras (the AchAryan) and SaunakA (the sishyan), which deals with the Vidhyais that Lord HayagrIvan teaches are covered. These are:

“dhvE vidhyE vedithavyE ithi ha sma yadh brahmavidhO vadanthi parA chaivaaparaa”
– Mundaka Upanishad: 1.1.4


There are two kinds of Knowledge (Vidhyai), namely, AparA and parA- lower and higher-Vidhyais. So say those (the great seers of Upanishads) who know Brahman. The Next Manthram talks about the “lower knowledge” (apara vidhyai) :

“tathAparA RgvEdhO YajurvEdhO SaamavEdhO Atharva vEdha:
SikshA KalpO VyAkaraNam niruktham chandhO JyOthishamith
Atha ParA yayaa Tadhaksharam adhigamyathE”


The Four VedhAs, Six VedhAngAs (SikshA/Phonetics, Kalpa/Code of rituals, VyAkaraNa/ Grammar, Niruktha/etymology, Chandas/metre and JyOthisha/ astrology) are Apara Vidhyais or the lower knowledge that yield Brahma Jn~Anam.

The Higher knowledge (Para Vidhyai) is that which leads to immortality or “That which goes beyond the word meaning in language”. Para Vidhyai teaches the wise (DheerA:) about the Akshara Brahmam, who is Nithyam (eternal), Vibhum (Full of VibhUthi), Sarvagatham (allpervading) and BhUthayOnim (source of all creation).


Aparaa gives Brahma Jn~Anam and Paraa leads to Brahma SaakshAthkAram, which is the exclusive domain of Jn~Anis saluted by GeethAchAryan as the ones dearest to Him. BrahmOpAsanam based on the seven principles attributed to Brahmanandhi by AchArya RaamAnujA in his Sri Bhaashyam (VivEkam, VimOgam, AbhyAsam, Kriyai, kalyANam, AnavasAdham and Anuddharsham) constitute apara vidhyai. The fruit of that BrahmOpAsanam with Lord HayagrIvan’s anugraham is Brahma SaakshAthkAram, the Para Vidhyai. Both are made possible by the SarvAdhAra VidhyA Tathparan, Sri HayagrIvan.

The Moksha-para VidhyAs are 32 in number and are taught in ChAndhOgya Upanishad, which is a Saama Upanishad. UdhgItha PraNavam saluted as Amrutham and Abhayam in BrahmOpAsanam will be covered later in detail since Lord HayagrIvan is recognized as PraNava Udhgitha SvarUpan or PraNava UdhgItha Vachas. Let us just list without going into detail some of these 32 VidhyAs housed in ChAndhOgya, BrahadhAraNya and KoushIdaki Upanishads. Some of these VidhyAs are:

1. Madhu Vidhyai
2. Gaayathri Brahma Vidhyai: This one is particularly appropriate on this day after Gaayathri Japam to reflect upon.
3. Koukshaya JyOthir Vidhyai
4. SaanDilya Vidhyai
5. Kosa Vij~Nanam
6. Purusha Vidhyai
7. Raigva Vidhyai
8. ShOdasa Kalaa Brahma Vidhyai
9. PrANa Vidhyai
10. PanchAgni Vidhyai
11. VaisvAnara Vidhyai
12. Sadh Vidhyai
13. BhUma Vidhyai
14. Dahara Vidhyai
15. PurushAthma Vidhyai
16. BaalAki Vidhyai
17. MythrEyi Vidhyai
18. Paryanga Vidhyai
19. Pradhardhana Vidhyai et al

AdiyEn will conclude the second and final Paadham of the First slOkam of Sri HayagrIva SthOthram with a passage from Sri HayagrIva Sahasra nAma Phala sruthi:

“VidhyA SaamrAjya sampatthi Mokshaika phala Saadhanam
Sarvavith svAthma-bhAvEna paramam padham AapnuyAth”

Another passage from the Sri HayagrIva Sahasra Naamam sums up the phalan of this Sarva VidhyA aadharan this way:

“AshtAksharaika NishtAnAm Kaaryam VaikuNtam arpayan
SaraNAgathi NishtAnAm SaakshAth Vaikuntam arpayan”

The Vaikunta Kaaryam hinted here is Nithya, Niravadhya Kaimkaryam to Parama Padha Naathan and His dhivya Mahishis at His Sri Vaikuntam. We covered so far the DhyAna SlOkam of Sri HayagrIvan. Before we continue with the commentary on the Second SlOkam of Sri HayagrIva SthOthram, adiyEn would like to point out why Sri HayagrIvan is specially worshipped by us.

All what one can seek from PerumaaL as Isvaryams are Jn~Anam, Bhakthi and anushtAnam. As Sri UtthamUr Swamy explains, One can ask all of the above three Isvaryams from PerumAL and more. Although Our Lord can bless us with the every Isvaryam, it is considered appropriate however to ask a specific avathAra-Moorthy of the Lord for a specific boon, which has close connections to His avathAram. For instance, Sri HayagrIvan incarnated to bless Brahma with the power of Veda Vidhyai. He is therefore the VidhyA RaajA. Parama Sivan, the grandson of the Lord became DakshiNA Moorthy due to the grace of Sri HayagrIvan. Devi Sarasvathi became the goddess of Learning due to the anugraham of Sri HayagrIvan, Brahaspathi became Deva Guru due to the blessing of Sri HayagrIvan. Swamy Desikan is going to point out later that DakshiNA Moorthy, Sarasvathi (Bharathi) and Brahaspathi got vested in powers of learning from a trifle of the anugraham of Sri HaygrIvan. That is why we worship Sri HayagrIvan exclusively, when our desire is for the acquisition of Jn~Anam and Vidhyai. Sri HayagrIvan is invoked in all Vaidhika KarmAs through the first slOkam in our sankalpams:

“SuklAmbharadharam vishnum sasi varnam Chathurbhujam
Prasanna Vadhanam dhyAyEth Sarva vighnOpasAnthayE”

The Sukla ambhara-dharan (Clad in spotless white cloth) and Sasi varNan (with the white hue reminding us of the cool, white rays of the autumn Full Moon) referred to here is none other than Sri HayagrIvan. We pay our special reverence to Sri HayagrIvan for these reasons.

The Revered Jeeyars of the ParakAla Matam starting from the direct Sishyar (Sri Brahma Tanthra Svathanthra Swamy) have continued this tradition of AchArya RaamAnujA and Swamy Desikan by performing uninterrupted AarAdhanam for Sri Lakshmi HayagrIvan. MahA Lakshmi takes on the form of another Devi with the name of “Vidhyai” and becomes the Dharma-Pathni of Sri VaagIsvarEsvaran (HayagrIvan). As Lakshmi HayagrIvan, Our Lord wears the two VishNu chinnams (Sankham and Chakram) in two hands and has a Pusthakam and Jn~Ana mudhrai (Chimudhrai) on the other two hands. The four hands of Sri HayagrIvan represent Saadhu Jana rakshaNam, Dhushta Nigraham, VidhyA Pradhatvam and Moksha Pradhathvam.

Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple, Nandambakkam - Hayagreevar

Let us see a small krithi that can be sung in Raagam Naattakurinji or VasanthA.

HayagrIvam BhAvayAmi sathatham Sundara Aniruddha avathAram (LakshmI)

Jn~Anandha-mayam svaprakAsam Jn~Ana-dhAyinam DayA nidhim (LakshmI)

Aadhi-madhyAntha rahitham Vaaji Vakthram Sarvaj~nam svacchandhanm Deva
Devam (LakshmI)

Madhu KaiDapa mardhanam Saarasvatha pradham aj~nAna-Naasakam Sarva
VaagIsvarEsvaram (LakshmI)


AdiyEn reflects always on Sri Lakshmi HayagrIvan, who is of the most beautiful avathAram of Aniruddhuan. He is full of bliss of knowledge and self-effulgent. Sri Lakshmi Hayagrivan is the One, who blesses us with Tatthva-Hitha -PurushArtha Jn~Anam and is a treasure house of dayA guNam. The Lord of Gods with the face of a horse is Omniscient and shines like a clear crystal. AdiyEn meditates on that Lord, who destroyed the two asurAs, Madhu and KaiDapan. He is the One, who blesses us with Vedic speech and removes our false Knowledge and is the Lord of all Gods of Learning.


To be continued…

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