shrImaan veNkaTa naathaarya: kavitaarkika kesaree |
vedaantaachaarya varyo me sannidhattaaM sadaa hRudi ||
ஸ்ரீமாந் வேங்கட நாதார்ய: கவிதார்கிக கேஸரீ |
வேதாந்தாசார்ய வர்யோ மே ஸந்நிதத்தாம் ஸதா ஹ்ருதி ||
This stotram celebrates the auspicious quality (Kalyana Guna) of Mercy (Dayaa) of the Lord of Thiruvenkatam. Of All the Kalyana Gunaas of Venkataadhri Sekhara Vibhu, His Dayaa is the most important one for the uplift of the Chetanaas. The concept of Prapatthi and Thiruvenkatamudayaan’s Dayaa to realize the fruits of that Prapatthi is the subject of Sri Venkatanatha Kavi in this “Satakam”.
The structure of this stotram containing 108 slokas (one for each of the Divya Desa Archaa Murthys of Sriman Narayana perhaps) is extraordinarily impressive even by Swami Desikan’s standards of poetic excellence. Our Acharya has used ten plus different meters to compose the ten groups of slokas, each of which houses “ ten” slokas. The numbers of slokas and their poetic meters are as follows:
1. Slokaas 1-10: Anushtup meter
2. Slokaas 11-20: Aryaa meter
3. Slokaas 21-30: Oupacchandhasikam
4. Slokaas 31-40: Maalini
5. Slokaas 41-50: Mandhaakraanthaa
6. Slokaas 51-60: Nathkutakam
7. Slokaas 61-70: SikariNi
8. Slokaas 71-80: HariNi
9. Slokaas 81-90: Pruthvee
10. Slokaas 91-104: Vasantha Tilakaa
11. Slokaas 105& 106: Maalini again
12. Slokaas 107& 108: Sardhoola Vikriditham
According to this tradition, every set of ten reveals a particular meaning, which together covers the Ananatha KalyaaNa GuNams of the Lord of Thiruvenkatam. The ten meanings associated with the ten sets of ten slokas have been summarized by Srirama Desikaacchaar Swamy this way:
- HecomprehendseverythingandHeiscapableofcarryingoutwhateverHechooses to do.
- He destroys the enemies of those, who surrender unto Him and thereby seek His help.
- He is the means for attaining ALL worthwhile goals.
- Hewillrushtothehelpofthelowestandthehighestwithsamespeed,whenthey appeal to Him sincerely for help.
- He is the one, who can offer the happiness associated with Moksha right here on this earth.
Swami Desikan goes on to describe in detail the Anantha Kalyana Gunaas of Sriman Narayana in his Taatparya RatnaavaLi and Dramidopanishad Saaram. He is thus paying his tribute to Nammazhwaar’s Thiruvaimozhi in all of these three works. We will illustrate the ten essential meanings of Daya Satakam in the subsequent sections as revealed by Srirama Desikaacchaar Swamy in the tradition of his Achaarya, Navaneetham Krishnamaacchaar Swamy of Oppiliappan Koil.
In the very first sloka, Swami Desikan states precisely his goal in composing this Grantham and describes the object of his salutations this way:
PRAPATHYEH TAM GIRIM PRAAYA: SRINIVAASAANUKAMPAYAA I IKSHUSAARA SRAVANTHYEVA YANMOORTHYAA SARKARAAYITAM II
Here he compares the Lord’s Dhayaa as the sweet flowing river of Cane sugar juice, which has solidified to become the mountain of Thiruvenkatam. Swami States that he offers his prapatthi to that mountain, which has become the embodiment of the Lord’s Dayaa.
The FIRST theme covered by the first ten slokas revolves around the fact that the Lord of Thiruvenkatam (SravaNa Venkatesan) is eminently suitable for worship and adoration. The reason is that He is an ocean of Mercy (Dayaa). He serves as the treasure for those, who have
no riches to speak of. He is the field out of which grows the four fruits of human life (Purushaarthams). That concept of blemish-free mercy makes Him the supreme object of contemplation and worship as described below:
AKINCHANA NIDHIM SOOTHIMAPAVARGHA TRIVARGAYOH: ANJANAADHRI ISWARA ABHISHTOWMI NIRANJANAAM
The above sloka is the last of the first group of ten. In earlier verses, Swami Desikan offers his salutations to Guru Paramparaa and Azhwaars. In the beautiful second verse, he says:
Vigaahe teertha bahuLaam seethaLAm guru Santathim Srinivasa Dhayaambhodhi pareevaha paramparaam
The key words are: “SeethaLAm Guru Santathim”
Srinivasa Dhayaambhodhi Pareevaha Paramparaam Vigaahe. He says that he immerses in the cool waters of the flowing stream of Guru Parampara that originated from the ocean of Mercy known as Srinivasa.
The SECOND essential theme of Dayaa sathakam is that Sri Venkateswara is eminently enjoyable in terms of Bhagavath Anubhavam. This theme is met in Sloka 19:
ROOTAA VRUSHACHALA PATEH: PAADEH
MUKA KANTHI PATRALACCHAAYAA KARUNEH SUKHAYASI VINATAAN KATAKSHA
VITAPAI: KARAAPACHEYA PHALAI:
Here, Swami Desikan says that Dayaa Devi is standing tall in Thirumalai representing the merciful aspect of Sri Venkateswara. She grows at the feet of the Lord of Venkatam and serves as His kalpaka tree that fulfills the wishes of those who pray to Him. His cool glances at the sight of His devotees cause the tree of Dayaa Devi to send out tender shoots and later ripe, tasty fruits. Those, who worship at the sannidhi of Sri Venkateswara become beneficiaries of His Dayaa and enjoy the fruits of that Kalpaka tree. Hence, Swami Desikan says that the Karunaa Katakshams of the Lord of Thiruvenkatam yield indescribable riches to the devotees. His Dayaa makes Him eminently enjoyable.
The THIRD essential theme of Dhayaa Satakam is that He has the most beautiful Divya Mangala Vigraham and to feast on Him with our eyes is equivalent to tasting the divine nectar. The sloka corresponding to this theme is as follows:
KALASODHODHITI SAMPADHO BHAVATHYAA: KARUNEH SANMATHI MANTHA SAMSKRUTHAAYAA: AMRUTAAMSAM AVAIMI DIVYA DEHAM MRUTHA SANJEEVANAM ANJANAACHALA INDOH:
Here, Swami Desikan says that the churning of the Ocean of Dayaa of Sri Venkatesa yields the nectar, which is the divine and auspicious Vigraham of Srinivasan. That Vigraham made entirely of Suddha Satthvam is standing on top of Thirumalai. This most beautiful Archaa Vigraham removes the fear of Yama to Prapannaas and guarantees them the fruits of Moksham. Such is the power of this auspicious and beautiful Archaa Murthy of the seven hills.
The FOURTH essential theme of Dhayaa satakam is that the Sri Venkatesa concept is the most delectable experience to enjoy among all delectable experiences that the human beings can hope to enjoy. His blue effulgence radiating from the top of Thirumala hills and its sacred associations provide the richest item for the enjoyment of the chetanas. Here, the divya Mangala Vigraham is not the object of reference, but the holiness of the Venkateswara Tatthvam, which is the highest concept that Vedas can proclaim. The sloka corresponding to this theme is as follows:
PARIMITA PHALASANGHAATH PRAANINA: KIMPACHAANAA: NIGAMA VIPANI MADHYEH NITYA MUKTAANUSHAKTHAM PRASADANAMANUKAMPEH PRAAPTAVATYAA BHAVATYAA VRUSHAGIRI HARINEELAM VYANJITHAM NIRVASANTHI
The FIFTH central theme is about the blessings that one accrues from the Kataksham of Srinivasan of Thirumalai. Swami Desikan says that the auspiciousness of that glance can result in freedom from the three debts that human beings are subject to in this world. These three debts are to Devas, Rishis and one’s ancestors (Pithrus). Normally, one gets rid of these debts with great difficulty. The debt to the Devas is normally discharged thru the performance of Yagaas and the offering of Havis. The debt to Rishis is discharged through Veda Adhyayanam. The debt to the Pithrus is discharged thru progeny. These three debts are instantaneously discharged by the mere glance of Sri Venkatesa resting for a moment on the Prapanna. The blessings arising from that merciful glance not only makes the Prapanna free from these three debts, but it also results in obtaining the boon of Moksham thru the Devayana path at the time of leaving this earth. Prior to that, the glances of Sri Venkatesa confer immense wealth in this universe. The sloka containing these thoughts is the forty ninth verse of Dayaa Satakam:
SREYA: SOOTHIM SAKRUTAPI DHAYEH SAMMATHAAM YA: SAKEEM TEH SEETHODHAARAA MALAPADHA JANA: SRINIVAASASYA dHRUSHTIM I DEVAADHEENAA MAYA MANRUNUTHAAM DEHAVATTVEAPI VINDHAN BHANDHAAN MUKTHO BALIBHIRANAGAI: POORYATEH TATPRAYUKTHAI: II
The SIXTH central theme of the Satakam is that Lord Srinivasa is easy to approach thru Prapatthi. Swami Desikan says through the following FIFTY NINTH sloka that the Bhakthi and Jnana Yogam are difficult to practise as means of Moksham compared to Prapatthi at the holy feet of Sri Srinivasa as taught by our Acharyas such as Ramanuja, Yamuna and others:
TVADHUDHAYA TOOLIKAABHIRAMUNAA VRUSHASAILA JUSHAA STHIRA CHARA SILPINAIVA PARIKALPITHA CHITRADHIYA: I
YATIPAATHI YAAMUNA PRUBRIDHAYA: PRATAYANTHI DHAYEH JAGADHI HITAM NA NASTVAYI BHARANYASANAAT ADHIKAM II
The SEVENTH central theme of Satakam states that His incomparable mercy removes any and every obstacle (Anishtam) that a Prapanna faces on this earth. The slokam corresponding to this theme is as follows:
AKOOPAARAI REKODHAKA SAMAYA VAITANDIKA JAVAI: ANIRVAABHYAAM KSHIPRAM KSHAPAYITUM AVIDHYAAKYAPATAPPAAM I KRUPEH TVAM TATTHAADHRUK PRATHIMA VRUSHA PRITHVEEDHARA PATHI- SVARUPA DWAIGUNYA DVIGUNA NIJABINDHU: PRABHAVASI II
The EIGHTH central theme refers to His Kalyana gunam by which He accommodates Himself to the wishes of the Prapannas. Although He knows that some of the desires of the Prapannas relate to the nonlasting, perishable, trivial things, Sri Venkatesa gives them what they want. Later, He gives them the knowledge and discriminative power to overcome the desire for perishable things and elevates their sight to the lasting concept such as Moksham. In other words, He goes along with the wishes of Prapanna first and then slowly helps them to set higher goals such as Nithya Kainkaryam, Kaivalyam and Moksham. The sloka containing these thoughts is the seventy fifth Slokam of the Dayaa satakam.
The NINTH central theme relates to his sincere friendship out of His compassion for the Prapannas. His friendship does not count on any returns from the Prapannas. It is the most natural of all friendships.
The TENTH central theme deals with Sri Venkateswara’s grace in leading the Prapannas in the Devayaana path to Srivaikuntam.
In the 104th slokam, Swami Desikan acknowledges the glorious mercy of Sri Venkateswara in crowning him as “Vedanthaacharya” at the end of reciting Dayaa Sathakam. He states that he was just an instrument in the hands of the Lord of Thiruvenkatam in composing Dayaa sathakam.
This slokam housing the Sattvika Thyagam is a gem:
VEDANTHA DESIKA PADEH VINIVESYA BAALAM DEVO DHAYASATAKAM YETAT AVADHAAYAT MAAM VAIHAARIKENA VIDHINAA SAMYEH GRUHITAM VEENA VISESHAMIVA VENKATA SAILA NAATHA:
There are 108 slOkams in Sri Dayaa Sathakam composed by the GhaNDAvathAran, Swamy Desikan. These slOkams are about the Dayaa (anukampaa, KaruNaa) guNam of the Lord of Seven Hills, ThiruvEnkatamudayAn and hence it has been appropriately named as Sri Dayaa Sathakam. Although the Lord has limitless auspicious guNams (anantha KalyANa guNams), it is His Dayaa guNam that makes all the other guNams shine. Therefore, Swamy Desikan eulogizes this unique and defining guNam of the Lord and salutes this embodiment of Dayaa guNam as the fifth Devi of he Lord (Dayaa Devi) along with the other four Devis: Sri, BhU, NeeLA and GodhA Devis. This Dayaa guNam of the Lord is solely responsible for the protection of the ChEthanams and hence Swamy Desikan praises this GuNam through 108 slOkams. The Sri Sookthi of Dayaa sathakam is set up as a conversation between Swamy Desikan and Dayaa Devi to delight our minds and hearts. Here, Swamy Desikan refers often to the loftiness of Prapatthi as the easy to practice and unfailing means for gaining MokshAnandham. At the end of this Sathakam, Swamy Desikan alludes to Lord VenkatEsan crowning him with the title of “VedAntha Desikan” and enabling him to sing this sthOthram in praise of His Dayaa guNam. Those who recite this auspicious sthOthram daily would be the beneficiary of sarva MangaLams because of the special affection that the Lord of Thirumala has for this Sri Sookthi.
Source: Annotated Commentary in English By Oppiliappan KOil Sri Varadachari SaThakOpan