The First slOkam of Sri Sthuthi is recited for the copious flow (PathinettAm Perukku PravAham) of MangaLam coming our way (Home, Community, Nation):
AdiyEn performs Prapatthi to MahA Lakshmi (the refuge for all the beings of the world / SarvalOka SaraNyai) as one, who has no other refuge. She is the Mistress of the widely spread and limitless Iswaryam (wealth). She is the MangaLam (Auspiciousness) of all MangaLa vasthus and Tatthvams. She is the embodiment of all MangaLams. She adorns the chest of Her Lord with Her divine and incomparable JyOthi. She is the Vara Lakshmi (boon-granting Lakshmi) for all, who are eager to gain Her anugraham both in this and the other world.
Additional Comments on individual sections of the slOkam:
Vaikunta Vaasi Sri V.N. SrirAma DesikAcchAr Swamy of Oppiliappan Sannidhi influenced me immensely as a boy. adiyEn will therefore follow quite a bit his lucid commentary on this Swamy Desika SthOthram.
Essential Message of this slOkam:
The key passage in this slOkam is “SrEyO Moorthim SaraNyAm Sriyam ThvAm aSaraNa: PrapadhyE”. Even more condensed version of this prayer is “SaraNyAm ThvAm aSaraNa: prapadhyE”. This is the classical PurushakAra Prapatthi, where we perform our Prapatthi to the Divine Mother as practised by AchArya RaamAnujA in His SaraNAgathy Gadhyam at the beginning.
She is the embodiment of SrEyas (“NanmayE vadivu koNDavaL”).
She is “SaraNyA”, One who protects unfailingly those, who seek Her protection.
The Six definitions of Sri Devi’s names:
The SrEyas (MangaLams) that She confers come under six broad categories as indicated by Her name: SrI DEvi (Sriyam: One who has the name of SrI). These Six aspects of SrI Sabdham (SreeyathE, SrayathE, SruNOthi, SrAvayathee, SruNAthi and SreeNAthi) stated in a different way are:
1. She is attained by those who wish to be redeemed and uplifted.
2. She approaches Her Lord Herself for that purpose. She pleads with Him.
3. She out of Her compassion listens to the appeal by chEtanams to protect them.
4. She invites the attention of Her Lord about the plight of the Jeevans and appeals to Him to overlook their multitudinous trespasses.
5. She chases away the prApthi VirOdhis that stand in the way of the fulfilment of SaraNAgathy.
6. She brings to perfection the aathma guNams of those, who seek Her rakshaNam.
Swamy Desikan has all of us, the helpless beings in mind, when he invokes the word of “aSaraNa:” (Puhal onRum illAthavan), One without any protector and recourse. In that state of ananyagathithvam, Swamy Desikan performs his Prapatthi and shows us the way (ThvAm aSaraNa: prapadhyE).
Seven Salutations associated with Swamy Desikan’s Prapatthi:
Rest of the First slOkam celebrates some of Her many vaibhavams and can be split and enjoyed along this way:
1. Maana atheetha vibhavAm ThvAm PrapadhyE:
2. MangaLAnAm MangaLam ThvAm PrapadhyE:
3. Madhuvijayina: Vaksha PeeDeem svakAnthyA bhUshayantheem ThvAm PrapadhyE:
4. Prathyaksha AanuSravika mahima prArTineenAm PrajAnAm SrEyO Moorthim ThvAm PrapadhyE:
5. SrEyO Moorthim SaraNyAm ThvAm PrapadhyE:
6. Sriyam ThvAm PrapadhyE:
7. ThvAm aSaraNa: PrapadhyE:
Specific comments on each of the above seven statements
1. Maana atheetha vibhavAm ThvAm PrapadhyE:
Maana means limit or boundary. “Maana atheetha” means then limitless or having no boundary or finiteness. It is infinite. This limitless keerthi (Fame) of Her auspicious guNams is very well known (PraTitham). It is not like a lamp, whose lustre is hidden by a lampshade. It is like a JyOthi on top of a hill and is recognized and saluted from everywhere and by every one of Her bhakthAs .She is of that caliber of “praTitha vibhavA” (well known glories). She is “Nithya Pushtai” (She is the abode of all Iswaryams, MangaLa vasthus and aathma GuNams) She is “anugrahaparA” (One who has the inherent nature of showering Her anugrahams). She is “Dharma nilayA” (abode of all righteousness, dharmams). She is lOka SOka VinAsini (destroyer of the sorrows of the world) and most of all; She is Hari VallabhA (very dear to Her Lord, Sriman NaarAyaNan).
2. MangaLAnAm MangaLam ThvAm prapadhyE:
She is the root cause of the MangaLam (auspiciousness) in all MangaLa vasthus. They become auspicious and desirable because of Her conferral of auspiciousness on them. Their acquiring the status as MangaLa vasthus is solely due to Her vaibhavam.
Swamy Desikan now has the vision of His upAsana Moorthy, Sri Lakshmi HayagrIvan. He visualizes Sri Devi on His auspicious chest (Madhuvijayina: VakshasTala Peetam) seated on Her lotus throne. Lord’s sacred chest itself becomes the house of residence for Her. There She is radiant with Her Svayam JyOthi and adorns that seat of residence. Madhu vijayan is Lord HayagrIvan, who won over and destroyed the asuran by the name Madhu. Sri HayagrIvan becomes Lakshmi HayagrIvan, when Sri Devi chooses His broad chest as Her seat for eternal residence. She illumines that chest region and all around with Her Svayam prakAsam and adorns it.
4. Prathyaksha AanuSravika mahima prArTineenAm prajAnAm SrEyOmoorthim ThvAm PrapadhyE:
Some of Her Prajais (Her children) pray for different kinds of wealth of this world (prathykasha mahima): Children, dhAnyam, dhanam, cattle, house et al to enjoy here. There are a select few, who discard the worldly wealth and seek from You the Superior phalans of the other world (Svargam et al) topped by the Parama PurushArTam of Moksha Sukham. These categories of SaadhakAs seek from You
“AanuSravika mahimaam PrArTayanthE”. You grant the kinds of “sukham” that chEtanams seek in this world as well as in the other.
As VasudhAriNee, the holder of all kinds of wealth, You grant them the boons they seek .You are Vara Lakshmi. You grant from transient worldly wealth to imperishable (Saasvatham) Moksham (apunar-janmam and nithya kaimkaryam in Your Sri Vaikuntam). Such is Your glory and that is why adiyEn performs this Prapatthi to You.
5. SrEyO Moorthim SaraNyAm ThvAm PrapadhyE:
adiyEn performs prapatthi to You, who is the embodiment of all auspicousness (SrEyO Moorthy) and who is SaraNAgatha Rakshaki (One who has vowed to join with Your Lord to offer protection to those, who perform SaraNAgathy unto You).
6. Sriyam ThvAm PrapadhyE
Here Swamy Desikan invokes the power of Dhvaya Manthram. SrI PraSna Samhithai reveals that SrI: is the First letter (PraTamAksharam) and MakAram (the letter M) is the dhvitheeyAksharam; together they form “Sriyam”. Dhvaya Manthram has 25 aksharams and its deep meanings are commented on by Paadhma Samhithai. Swamy Desikan structured Sri Sthuthi with 25 slOkams in rememberance of those 25 aksharams. This dhvaya manthram is UpAya-UpEya roopa arTa dhvayam with 25 aksharams. In Srimath RaamAyaNam, LakshmaNa known for His Kaimkarya Sri invokes the dhvaya MantrArTam, when He says:
“BhavAmsthu SAHA VaidEhyA —-aha, sarvam karishyAmi jAgratha: svapatascchatE”
(adiyEn will perform Kaimkaryams to You united with SithA Piratti at all times). That is the Manthra PrabhAvam of Dhvayam with SrI sabdham and Swamy Desikan hints at that Prapatthi aimed at Dhivya Dampathis through his Prapatthi. Swamy Desikan also reflects on aakAra Thraya Sampannai, Sri Devi and and addresses his Prapatthi to Her as “Sriyam PrapadhyE”. He thinks of the upadEsam of AruLALa PerumAL EmperumAnAr here:
AakAriNasthu vijn~Anam AakAra-Jn~Ana poorvakam
tEnAkAram SRIYAM jn~AthvA jn~thavyO BhagavAn Hari:
Meaning: The Vaibhavam / VisEshaNam / Uniqueness has to be understood FIRST before knowing the object. For understanding BhagavAn, His PradhAna visEshaNam (top most visEshaNam / Qualifying attribute), SrI Devi, has to be understood first. Only after that, one has to get to know BhagavAn.
7. ThvAm aSaraNa: parapdhyE:
adiyEn without any other gathi seeks You as protection and perform my Prapatthi. The pramANams to remember in the context of ananya SaraNan, ananya gathi are found in many sthOthrams. They are addressed to Sriman NarayaNan and could be readily extended to Sri Devi as well because of their anyOnya Seshithvam:
1. Ahirbudhnya Samhithai(37.30)/Lord SivA’s declaration:
aham aparAdhaanAm aalayO akinchanascchanOagathi:
I am the abode of all aparAdhams / transgressions. I do not have the means to protect myself; I am in a state, where I am not in need of any vasthu other than You for my rakshaNam.
2. Swamy AaLavanthAr’s famous SaraNAgathy in SthOthra rathnam:
akinchanOananyagathi: SaraNya! Thvath PAdhamoolam SaraNam prapadhyE
Meaning of the total slOkam:
adiyEn has not practised Karma Yogam; neither Jn~Ana or Bhakthi Yogams. Oh SaraNyA! adiyEn reaches Your sacred feet as the object of protection in adiyEn’s state as one without any other means as akinchanan without any other vasthu to attain as PrApyam.
3. JithanthA SthOthram: 2.15
akinchanOananyagathi: SaraNya! gruhANa mAmm klEsinam AmbhujAksha!
Oh Sarva lOka SaraNyA! adiyEn is a helpless akinchanan. adiyEn has no other means except Your Paadha Kamalam as refuge. Oh Lotus eyed One! Please hold this worried one agitated by SamsAric fears!
4. Swamy NammAzhwAr’s SaraNAgathy (ThiruvAimozhi: 6.10.10)
Puhal onRumillA adiyEn Unnadikkeezh amarnthu puhunthEnE’
adiyEn with no rakshakan (protector) and upAyam have taken the refuge of Your sacred feet. Aakinchanyam is the inability to practise Bhakthi Yogam with the two other yOgams, which will assist them (Karma and Jn~Ana Yogams). ananya gathithvam is inability to seek other UpAyams for protection or disinterest in seeking phalans other than Moksham and not trusting anyone other than the yEka-sEshithva dhivya dampathis for Moksham.
Although much more can be written about the individual words chosen by Swamy Desikan in the slOkams of Sri Sthuthi, adiyEn will resist the temptations in view of the length of these postings. We have 24 more SlOkams to cover the Vaibhvam of MahA Lakshmi with “MaanAtheetha Vaibhavam”.
To be continued…