CommentariesPrabhandam & Slokas

Sri Hayagriva Stothram – 3

Medavakam Perumal Koil SrI Hayagreevar


The Hala-Hala sounds in the form of neighings emanating from the divine throat of Sri HayagrIvan, the Horse-faced Lord, are the aggregate of Saama VedA mantrAs, the word for word meanings of the Rg vedA (Rks) and the abode of Yajur VedA manthrams. These Hala- Hala nadhams are the destroyers of all obstacles to true Jn~Anam about ChEthana- AchEthana-Isvara tatthvams; these Hala-Hala sounds are like the movement of the waves from the ocean of true knowledge (Jn~Anam). May these sunAdhams chase away the inner darkness (ajn~nam) arising from the uproar (loud and confusing noise) of debaters whose minds are driven by their own pride, arrogance and viparItha Jn~Anam.

Sri HayagrIvan’s neighing sounds are in the form of the tree of Saama Vedam (Saamans) with its thousand branches (SaakhAs). They stand in for the meanings of Rg Veda manthrams (Rks). They contain the essence of Yajur Veda Manthrams. They destroy all obstacles that stand in the way of acquisition of para and apara vidhyais; they appear like the never-ceasing waves from the ocean of true Jn~Anam. Thus, these sunAdhams associated with Sri HayagrIvan are the integrated essence of the three Vedams; they remove the obstacles towards
gaining adhyAthmika vidhyai (true spiritual knowledge); they kindle the wick of the dheepam of knowledge and makes it shine bright to illumine our path towards mOksham; they destroy the clever and fallacious arguments of the debaters from avaidhika-mathams (Mathams that reject Vedams as PramANams) and kudhrushti-mathams (philosophies that distort the true meaning of the Vedams); they (the sacred sounds of hala-hala) rescue the gullible from the delusions caused by the loud and spirited arguments advanced by the proponents of avaidhika and Kudhrushti mathams in favor of their illusory doctrines; May the sacred sound of the neighings of Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn banish forever the dark clouds of ajn~Anam clouding our cognition of the true tatthvams and liberate us from the cycles of births and deaths (SamsAram)!

The third slOkam contains a section of Sri HayagrIva manthram and hence it is very sacred. Out of his infinite DayA, Swami Desikan housed the manthrams inside the different sections of his sthuthis addressed to Sri HayagrIvan, Sri Raaja GopAlan, Sri Devi and Garuda BhagavAn.This was done for helping the aasthikAs, who did not have the benefit of ManthrOpadEsam through an AchAryan. The mere reciting of these sthOthrams would then yield the fruits of manthrOpadEsam directly from Sri NigamAntha MahA desikan. Of all the sthOthrams, Si HayagrIva sthOthram is the most important one for every one to learn and recite. Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn is adhi Moorthy and has been recognized as the One with “Manthra Mayam SarIram”. All manthrams are embedded in Him. He is thus the treasure house of all Veda Manthrams and upAsana manthrams for gaining this-worldly and otherworldly gains.

In the second slOkam, Swamy Desikan mentioned for the first time, the power of the hala-Hala Sabdham: “anathai: thrayyanthai: anuvihitha hEshA Hala-halam hatha asEsha avadhyam”. Here, Swamy Desikan elaborates on the unique significance of the hala-hala sabdham emanating from the throat of the Horse-faced Lord, Sri HayagrIvan. He provides extended commentary on the “ananthai: thrayyanthi: (Limitless three Veda SaakhAs)” first in the first paadham of the third slOkam.

SaamnAm SamAhAra:

SamAhAra: means the assemblage, an aggregation, a compendium. “SaamAnAm SamAhAra:” means then the assembly of the entire 1875 verses of Saama Vedam with its three parts (pUrva Aarchika, Uttara Aarchika and MahA-Naamni AarchikAa saamans).

These Hala-Hala dhvani is recognized as the rustle of the assembly of the thousand-branched Saama Veda tree. Thus not only the samhithA portions of Saama Vedam but the thousand shAkhAs (recensions or branches) are referred to here.

GeethAchAryan has declared that He is in the form of Saama Vedam among the VedAs (vedAnAm Saama VedOsmi) to celebrate its supermacy among the VedAs. That is why, Swamy Desikan starts with the Saama Veda SvarUpam of Sri HayagrIvan sitting in front of him at ThiruvhaIndhrapuram.

The neighings of HayagrIva Moorthy is in the form of Saama GhAnam covering all the saamans (manthrams) in all its forms. The Rig Vedam deals with Jn~Anam, the Saama vedam with UpAsanA, worship and contemplation and Yajur Vedam with kriyA/KarmA or the observance of Vedic rites. Although Rg Vedam is the “parent”, Swamy Desikan mentions Saama Vedam first because of manthra siddhi that he attained from Sri HayagrIva manthra Upaasanai.

The traditional hierarchy among the VedAs is Rg, Yajus and Saamam. Most of the Saama Veda ManthrAs are rks from Rg Vedam set to music. It is generally believed that Saama vedam has only 75 verses of its own and the remaining 1,800 Saamans are from the different cantos of the Rg Vedam. The same Rk in Rg Vedam deals with knowledge and the identical Rk (Saaman) in saama Vedam deals with prayer and worship (AarAdhanam) to a devatA, whose antharyAmi is Sri Lakshmi HayagrIvan, the Sarva VidhyA Moorthy.

RuchAm Prathipadham:

Swamy Desikan salutes Rg Vedam next and shows us its links to the body (Hala-Hala Sabdham) of Lord HayagrIvan. “RuchAm” refers to Rg veda Rks (manthrams). As we mentioned earlier, the prefix “Prathi”, when going before a noun means “likeness, or resemblance or equality”.

“Prathi-padham” means then “everywhere or in every word”. The word group “RuchAm Prathipadham” chosen by Swami Desikan points out that the Hala-Hala Naadham of Sri HayagrIvan is the sum of the meanings of every word of Rg Veda Manthrams. Viewed in the context of the aphoristic statement, “The Veda itself is the secret of VedAs”, One can understand that the VedAs in general and the Rg Vedam linked with Jn~Anam in particular deals with Rutham (Truth), dhee (Thought or understanding or comprehension), rAyE (spiritual felicity), Vaaja (Homogeneous totality of thought), ghrutha (mind), asva (vital energy) and amrutham (sath-chithaanandham). It is interesting to note the important connection between two tathvams mentioned above, “Vaaja and Aasvam” with the two sacred names of Sri HayagRivan: “Vaaji- Vakthran and MahA asva siras”.

DhAma YajushAm:

Sri HayagrIvan houses the essence of the meanings of all Yajyur Veda Manthrams dealing with karma-KaaNDam. That is why He is saluted by Sri HayagrIva Sahasra Naamam at three places as:

“Padham kriyA kaaraksccha nipAthO Gathiravyaya:”
“Sarva karma SamArAdhya: Sarva VedamayO Vibhu:”
“Niranthara namOvAka suddhayAji hrudhayAsraya:”

There are 1984 manthrams in Yajur vedam.

The Param-dhAman, Sri Lakshmi Hayagrivan is the dhaman for the Yajur Vedam (YajushAM dhaama:). “Dhaman” means abode or house.

DhAman also means a majestic lustre. Dhama ChaDh is the Vedic name for Agni, which is central to Yaagams and Yaj~nams. Invocation of the word “DhAman” in “DhAma yajushAm” is very revealing in that the Lord, who accepts all Veda Havis in Yaj~nams, the antharyAmi Brahman of Agni, is invoked here.

Let us take up the meaning of the second paadham, “Laya: PrathyUhAnAm laharivithathi BhOdhajalatE:” now.

“laya: prathyUhAnAm lahari-vithathir-BhOdha-jaladhE:”:

The prose order is: “PrathyUhAnAm laya: BhOdha jaladhE: lahari vithathi”.

PrathyUha: means impediment, obstacle or hindrance. These impediments relate to the acquisition of true knowledge. The Hala-Hala dhvani destroys those impediments. The “prathyUhams” reach the state of layam. “Hayavadhana hEshA hala-hala: prathyUhAnAm laya:” is what Swamy Desikan reveals to us as the Vaibhavam of Sri HayagrIvan.

“hEsha hala-hala:” is being described further in this Paadham. Sri HayagrIvan’s neighing sounds echoing continuously and creating sarva mangaLams are like the never-ceasing waves (lahari vithathi:) from the ocean of Jn~Anam (BhOdha jaladhE:). These waves bathe one in the nectar of dhivya Jn~Anam. These are the BhakthAs of Sri HayagrIvan who receive such anugrahams. These Hala-hala dhvanis have the power of anishta-nivrutthi (removal of inauspiciousness) and also remove the impediments (Vigna Naasanam). These waves originating from Lord HayagrIvan are Jn~ananda maya lahari (Embodiments of the waves of Jn~Anam and Bliss combined).

Swamy Desikan recognizes Hala-hala Dhvani as the cause behind the removal of all hindrances for acquisition of Knowledge of every type. Besides anishta nivrutthi, one is also blessed with ishta prApthi (obtaining one’s object of desire). Sri HayagrIvan is Sreya: Pradhan and the best of SrEyas is VidhyA-anugraham. He is tamo Haran and hence, the removal of Aj~nAnam is an easy task for Him. He is Vaakpathi and therefore, He can bless one immediately with Saarsvatha Vaak (vedic Speech). He is sarva Saasthrakruth, SakalOpanishad sthuthyan and hence it is effortless for Him to bless us with true insights about most complex tatthvams. His “VidhyA SaamrAjya sampatthi” (the wealth of the kingdom of VidhYais) has the unfailing result of “Mokshaika Phala Saadhanam” (blessing us with Moksha siddhi).

Third and the Fourth Paadhams:

“kaTA dharpa kshubhyath kaTaka kula kOlAhala bhavam haarathu anthardhvAntham Hayavadhana hEshA Hala-Hala:”

The prose order is: “Hayavadhana hEshA hala-hala: kaTa dharpa Kshubhyath kataka kula kOlAhalabhavam anthar dhvAntham harathu”.

Parama Padha Vaasi Sri D.Ramaswamy Iyengar, a great Desika BhakthA gives us the meaning of these two paadhams: “The prayer voiced in the slOkam is that our inner darkness be dispelled by those hala-hala sounds. The cause for that inner darkness (avidyA) settling in our minds is defined in the third quarter of the slokA as the confusion and chaos caused by the clamouring noise of vain and haughty disputants propounding the superiority of the various systems of thought rooted in avaidhika and kudhrushti mathams. The sounds of the God of Knowledge alone can dispel the confusion caused by their uproar (KolAhalam) of disputants”. Let us now analyze the meanings a little more. The prayer is for the auspicious and welcome dhvani of Sri HayagrIvan’s Hala-Hala naadham to dispel the inner darkness (Hayavadhana hEshA hala-hala: anthardhvAntham harathu). “Tamaso maa Jyothir gamaya” is the prayer.

Thirumangai Mannan asks for such help from Sri HayagrIvan at ThiruveLLaRai dhivya

“vasayil nannmarai keduttha ammAlAyaRkkaruLi
munn ParimuhamAi,isai KoLL Veda NoolinRivai
payanthavanE yenakku aruL puriyE”
–Periya Thirumozhi:5.3.2

Thirumangai Mannan visualizes ThiruveLLaRai PerumAL as Sri HayagrIvan. The Sanskrit name of this KshEthram is SvEtha Giri (Thiru VeLLarai). When Thirumangai mannan had the darsana soubhAgyam of SvEtha Giri, He was reminded of the blemishless, white crystal mountain like form of Sri Hayagrivan that would be saluted later by Swami Desikan as “Nirmala SpatikAkruthi, Suddha Spatika maNi bhUbhruth prathibhaDam”. Thirumangai Mannan asked for the boon of Jn~aNam of the Four vedAs from VeLLai Parimukan. In one of the TherazhundhUr Paasurams (Periya Thirumozhi: 7.8.2), Thirumangai has again the vision of HayagrIvan, who blessed him with such Vedic knowledge and introduces this Veda Moorthy to us with pride:

“munnivvulahEzhum iruL maNDiuNNa
munivarOdu DhAnavarkal thihaippa,
vanthu pannukalai naal VedapporuLai yellAm
ParimuhamAi aruLiya yenn paraman KaaNNmin”.

Swamy Desikan refers to “KaThA dharpa kshubhyath kaThaka kula kOlAhala bhavam anthardhvAntham Hayavadhana hala-hala: harathu”. “kathA” means disputations; kathAchalam means giving a false account of some thing based on ViparItha Jn~Anam. These disputants are taken up with themselves and are haughty and their mind is agitated (dharpa Kshubhyath). They are in groups (kathaka kulam) and raise a lot of din and noise (kOlAhalam).

Those noisy protestations of these kumathis confuse the mind of listeners (KolAhala Bhavam anthar dhvAntham), who begin to wonder whether their false claims are true. There is the darkness of Aj~nam looming over the horizon. Swamy Desikan prays to the JyOthirmaya HayagrIvan to intervene and chase away that darkness of aj~nanam from all of us. He is requesting Lord HayagrIvan to destroy that Aj~nAnam with His Hala-Hala dhvani (Hayavadhana hEshA hala-hala: harathu).

Before going to the Fourth SlOkam, let us see the uniqueness of this SlOkam. The fourth SlOkam is set in the rare Saalini metre. Swamy Desikan’s 28 sthOthrams contain 862 slOkams. This fourth slOkam of Sri HayagrIva sthOthram has the unique distinction of being set in the Saalini metre. Let us digress a little to reflect on the Padhya vrutthams (poetic metres) chosen by Swamy Desikan in the 33 slOkams of Sri HayagrIva sthOthram.


The First SlOkam and Anushtup metre:

Swamy Desikan set the first slOkam of His FIRST SthOthram in the sacred Vedic metre of Anushtup to salute the Veda SvarUpan, Sri HayagrIvan. Anushtup has eight syllables in each quarter of its four paadhams. One is inevitably reminded of AshtAkshara Manthram of Sriman NaarAyaNan, when one thinks of anushtup metre. As the lion among poets, Swamy Desikan followed all the rules for the use of this metre:

1. Fifth syllable of each quarter should be short
2. the sixth long and
3. the seventh alternatively long and short.

The Second & Third SlOkams (SikhariNI Metre):

The SECOND and THIRD slOkams were set in SikariNi metre, one of the seven derivative metres of the Vedic Metre, Athyashti. The etymology of the word SikhariNi is connected with that of an excellent woman. “Si” means to be attentive and to be sharp. Sikhara means the peak or summit; SikhariNI can then be related in a larger sense to an attentive woman of towering beauty. That metre was then chosen by Swamy Desikan for verses 2 and 3 dealing with Hala- Hala Veda dhvani of the Lord.

The Fourth SlOkam and the SikhariNI Metre:

The FOURTH slOkam is set in the rare Saalini metre. This metre is a derivative of the Vedic Thrishtup metre. The clue for the use of Saalini metre is obtained for a study of another slOkam set in the Saalini Metre:

angO hanthi JN~AANA Vrutthim vidattE
dharmam dhattE kaamaartham cha suthe
mukthim dhattE SarvathOpAsyamAnA
PumsAm sraddhaa SaalinI vishNu bhakthi:

Now, we comprehend the possible reason for Swamy Desikan’s choice of the SaalinI metre.

The 5th to 31st SlOkams (UpajAthi Metre):

The 5th to 31st slokams are set in the Upajaathi Metre, which is another derivative of the Vedic Thrishtup metre like SaalinI metre. Swamy Desikan decided to stay with UpajAthi metre after the Saalini Metre for the next 27 slOkams. His concentration was sharp in extolling the anantha KalyANa guNams of Jn~ananthamaya, Svathasiddha, Veda Moorthy. He stayed thus with the UpajAthi metre for all the rest of the slOkAs except the last two (32-33). UpajAtha means produced or happened. These 27 slOkams forming the bulk of the total 33 slOkams (~82%) can be visualized to have been formed by PrArthanA-poorvaka vij~nApanam of Swami Desikan to Lord Hayagrivan for the boon of Vedic Speech for samrakshnam of Bhagavath RaamAnuja SiddhAntham.

The Thirty Second Slokam and MandhAkranthA metre:

For the THIRTY SECOND SlOkam, Swamy Desikan used the MandhaakrAnthA metre. This MandhAkrAnthA metre is another derivative of the Athyashti Metre like SikhariNI metre (the metre of the 2nd and third slOkams). The whole of the great Kaavyam of MegadhUtA of the celebrated poet KaaLidAsA is composed in the MandhAkrAnthA metre. The Vedic root Mandh (mandhathE) means to celebrate without rushing. The non-Vedic meaning is to move slowly (mandha gathi). One meaning of AakrAntha is to have the mind engrossed or occupied. The combination of mandh and AakrAnthA, one can extrapolate to get a meaning of the poets’ mind being steeped in a majestic, unhurried celebration of the anantha kalyANa guNams of the Saarasvatha-Vaak-dhAyaka Sri HayagrIvan.

The Thirty third and final slOkam (AaryA metre):

This is the Phala sruthi slOkam is set in AaryA metre by Swami Desikan. One hundred and Sixteen of the 862 slOkams (13.5%) of his 28 sthOthrams are set in AaryA metre. This metre must have 12 maathrAs or syllabic instants in the first and third quarters (paadhams), the second 18 mAthrAs and the fourth 15 mathrAs. The whole of the poet GovardhanA’s AaryA sapthasathi (700 verses) has been composed in he AaryA metre. This metre is usually a celebration of the DayA svarUpam of the Lord.

Detailed meanings of the Fourth SlOkam set in the rare Saalini Metre:

The fourth slOkam is a prayer for the gift of Vedic speech arising out of the destruction of the inner darkness described in the previous slOkam (Haya Vadhan hEshA hala-Hala: anthardhvAntham harathu). Here Swamy describes the power of that Hala-Hala dhvani further. He states that the anugraham of Sri HayagrIvan is like the Sunrise that chases away the night’s darkness (Anthar nisAyaa kaachith prAchi SandhyA). He describes the unique anugraham of Sri HayagrIvan also as, “praj~nA dhrushtE: apoorvA anjana SrI:”. The imagery used by Swami Desikan is powerful and revealing.

That lustrous image of Sri HayagrIvan is like kOti SuryOdhayam with the power to banish the terrors of the night of inner darkness. That lustre is also of divinely wonderous nature (kaachith prAchi SandhyA). That lustre, which is in the form of praatha: sandhyA Kaalam drives away swiftly and decisively the inner darkness.

The Saama MaadhyAhnika UpasthAna manthram translated by the Sri Kaaryam of Poundarikapuram Aasramam, Professor Anantha NarasimhAcchAr Swamy is very appropriate in the context of invocation of the uniqueness of Praatha: sandhyA image invoked by Swamy Desikan (PraachI SandhyA Kaachith):

“The Lord from whom the Sun derives the light, the Lord who is the propagator of the VedAs, the Lord whom the great souls sustain in their heart through meditation and see the entire universe, The Lord from whom the army for the protection of the DevAs came into being, The Lord for whom VaruNA and Agni are like two eyes, He is the inner soul (AntaryAmi) living inside all things and beings in the Universe. He is pervading the Upper worlds, the earth and the intervening space. May This Lord (Adithya Mandala Madhya Vaasi) bestow on me lustre like Sun, life like Vaayu, Smell (fragrance) like SomA, intelligence like Brihaspathi, beauty (youth) like Aswins, Strength like IndrA and Agni.”

Argyam SamarpaNam

That radiant form of Sri HayagrIvan also has the power to reveal what was hitherto unseen. What is being revealed is the true Jn~Anam. How was it revealed? What was the power that made it possible to see what could not be seen until now? It is the power of Sri HayagrIvan, which acts like the rare kind of sacred anjanam (collyrium), which opens up the eye of Jn~Anam to experience the entire range of Vedic knowledge, which helps to understand what are true Tatthvam, Hitham and PurushArtham among a bewildering array of false entities. This powerful VidhyA Moorthy blessing those who seek refuge is Sri HayagrIvan, who performed Veda UpadEsam to Brahma Devan (VakthrI Vedaan). Swamy identifies this Nru-Turangan as the avathAram of Sri VaikuntanAthan, Para VaasudEvan.


To be continued…

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