The Second slOkam of Sri Sthuthi is recited for the abundant flow of dhivya Vaak blessed by VaaNi, the beloved Devi of Lord HayagrIvan:
Oh Mother Perum Devi! The places of Your avathAram are the Milky Ocean and the Yaaga SaalA of Janaka Rishi. Your places of residences are the lotus ponds and Your Lord’s chest. All the worlds (both Nithya VibhUthi and LeelA VibhUthi) are Your wealth. It is impossible therefore to assess the greatness of Your vast wealth; when it is so, how can men of limited intellect attempt to praise Your glories adequately. It is ofcourse impossible.
Extended Observations on the passages of this SlOkam:
(1) The key statement in this slOkam is: “anavadhi guNA Saa Thvam sthOka praJ~nai: kaTam sthUyasE?”. This bewilderment is an echo of Swamy AlavanthAr’s statement in the first slOkam of his ChathusslOki: “Bhagavathy! BhrUma: kaTam ThvAm vayam?”. PurushOtthaman is Your Consort. The king of serpents is Your bed. Garudan, whose body is constituted by all the Vedams is Your transport and throne. Prakruthy, which bewitches the world is serving as a screen for You. Brahma, Rudhran and the assembly of the DEvathAs are Your servants (DaasAs) and their wives are Your dAsees. On top of it all, Your name is SrI. How can we attempt to describe adequately Your limitless glories? “.
Swamy AlavanthAr indicates our incapabilities here. Swamy Desikan engages in such a declaration of unfitness (sva yOgya kaTanam deficiencies. Swamy Desikan implies that Her glories are beyond our power to eulogize.
(2) Swamy Desikan’s line of logic is: “Oh Perum Devi! I engage in praising You. Is it proper for me to evaluate Your vaibhavams? How lofty is Your place of birth How lofty is Your chosen places of residence? How immense is the magnitude of Your wealth? How great are Your auspicious GuNams? How can adiyEn think of coming to terms with them all and venture to sing in praise of Your unlimited Vaibhavam? (BhUmA) You took Your avathAram first in the Milky Ocean and then appeared (aavirbhAvam) in the Yaaga Saalai of King Janaka at MiTilA nagaram. In both these manifestations, You were self-manifest and did not have to endure garbha Vaasam like Your husband in Raama-KrishNa avathArams. One place of Your residence, the Lotus pond, is known for its natural fragrance and purity. The other place of residence of Yours is the sacred chest of Your Lord. There is no one who can claim to have those lofty sTAnams (places of residence). All the wealths of this world (LeelA VibhUthi) and the Supreme abode (Nithya VibhUthi / SrI Vaikuntam) are under Your rulership. Your anantha KalyANa guNams are beyond anyone’s grasp. Each of these many guNams is difficult to comprehend and describe. Thus in every aspect, Your matchless glories defy eulogizing. How can adiyEn oflimited intellect attempt to praise adequately Your Vaibhavam rooted in Your anavadhi guNams (limitless auspicious attributes)?
(3) Swamy Desikan identifies himself as a sthOka Praj~nan” or a person of limited intellect. SthOka means little or small. Praj~nA means intuitive wisdom or gnosis. It is customary for poets to acknowledge their disqualifications when they engage in sthuthis about BhagavAn and His Devi, MahA Lakshmi. Sri KurEsar’s hesitancy to praise Sri Devi because of his self-perceived limitations are housed in his Sri Sthavam, a great devotional hymn of 11 verses. He acknowledges his deficiencies and prays to SrI Devi to bless him with the intellect to engage in such a task. He approaches SrI Devi gingerly and seeks the boon of composing a sthuthi befitting Her glory. In the first slOkam, KurEsar prays for Her anugraham to engage in eulogizing Her: “svasthi SrI: diSathAth” (May SrI Devi confer auspiciousness on me). In the second slOkam, KurEsar reveals that he has a great wish to eulogize Her, the Mother of all the worlds (hE SrIrdEvi! samastha lOka Jananee! ThvAm sthOthum yeehAmahE). Therefore, please bless me with appropriate words to praise You (yukthAm BhAratheem bhAvaya). Oh Sri Devi! Please expand my intellect and combine it with deep devotion for You to be successful in this effort of mine (prEma pradhAnam dhiyam praguNaya). May Thou make this vaachaka kaimkaryam an auspicious experience (Bhakthim bhandhaya). Please accept me as one of Your own dAsans and make me, who has sought Your protection, happy (aasritham imam janam ThAvakam dAsam nandhaya!).
In the third slOkam of SrI Sthavam, KurEsar acknowledges the difficulties of even the Lord of Learning, SrI HayagrIvan, to expand on Her anantha KalyANa guNams (VaachaspathinA api Sakya rachanA kaTam?). KurEsar implies that even HayagrIvan will experience difficulties in such an effort because His Devi’s keerthi and KalyANa guNams are like a vast ocean (amyak sathya guNAbhivarNanam Bhru: kaTam?). Those guNams are not graspable by speech and mind (VaachAm manasA dhurgruham).
After confessing that Her glories cannot be adequately described by anyone and yet KurEsar admits that he has an uncontrollable urge to eulogize Her while being fully aware his insufficiencies. In the fifth slOkam of Sri Sthavam, KurEsar describes his plight: Oh Devi! I am an ignoramus (aham aj~na:). Even if I am a lowly one (KshOdheeyAn api), even if I have evil buddhi (dhushta Bhuddhi api), even if I have no friendship for You (nissnEha: api), I will not hesitate to enjoy singing about Your fame and glory and wont fear or be shy about such enjoyment (tE keertthim lihan na cha BhibhEmi, na cha jihrEmi). That glory of Yours will not be diminished, spoiled or affected by me, who has no qualifications to speak about You (saa keerthi: thu thAvathA na dhushyEth). KurEsar compares his status to that of a thirsty dog, which licks the waters of the sacred GangA river to quench its thirst without shyness or fear. KurEsar observes that the sacredness of GangA is not diminished even by an iota by the act of the dog (BhAgeerathi SunA leeDAapi na dhushyEth hi).
It is fascinating to study the approaches of KurEsar and Swamy Desikan in expressing their naichciyam (diffidence) over the subject of their disqualifications to engage in the sthuthi of SrI Devi and how they take off after their introductions.
4) Swamy Desikan chooses the word “BhUmaa” in this slOkam:
“BhUmA yasyA bhuvanam akhilam”
BhUma is a word with very rich in meaning from a VedAnthic point of view (BhUmAdhikaraNam and BhUma VidhyA of ChAndhOgya Upanishad). ChAndhOgya Upanishad says:
“yO vai BhumA tath sukham”….7.23.1
Meaning of this passage:
“He who has plenitude is infinite bliss. There is no happiness in the little. BhUmA alone or that which has the quality of plenitude is happiness. BhUmA alone is to be known and realized…” (Dr. NSA Swamy’s translation). Here, Upanishad BhAshyAkArar says: “BhumA means plentitude but not in numbers. It is the opposite of alpa or little”. It is not about measures or units (itthahayathu, IvvaLavuLLathu) of wealth but it is about the immensity (limitless) auspicious (KalyANa) guNams: “Vaipulya GuNOthkarsha roopam na thu parimANa roopam” Vaipulyam means abundance. GuNOthkarsham means celebrated auspicious qualities. It is about the abundant kalyANa guNams of Mother Lakshmi and Her BhUmA. Sri Devi is the aasrayam (abode) for this abundance (vaipulyam). She is therefore “Vaipulyaasraya dharmi”.
Such is the glory of Sri DEvi celebrated in the 2nd slOkam of SrI Sthuthi. (GuNOthkarsha roopam and not PariNAma roopam).
To be continued…