Generally vidyaarmbam among sri vaishnavas begins with a prayer to Lord Sri Hayagreeva, preceded by obeisance to our Acharyaas. Even today Vijayadasami and Sarsvathi pooja are celebrated in Srivaishnavas homes with the recitation of Sri Hayagreeva sthOthram. (in our home at least!). The Parakala Matham, situated in Mysore, is one the most ancient and premier Srivaishnava religious institutions in the country that came into being for the specific purpose of propagating Sri Ramanujam’s Visishtadvaita philosophy. Sri Lakshmi Hayagreeva (the Lord with the horse’s face) Haya-horse: greeva-neck: this Lord is the presiding deity for all knowledge – ‘Aadhaaram sarvavidhyaanaaam Hayagrivam upaasmahe’- is the principal deity of the Parakala Matham, the icon being one of the most beautiful ever adorning the Matham. Sri Hayagreevar Divya MangaLa vigraham is also the president deity for Sri Poundareekapuram Andavan Ashramam and also greatly revered by Sri Ahobila Matham and Andavan Ashram.
Sri Hayagriva Avataram
The avataram of Hayagriva Bhagavan took place to restore the Vedas to Brahma. Emperumaan had taught BrahmA the Creation through His breath of VedAs. Then, Brahma could understand how various kalpams had begun due to Emperumaan’s vEdOpasEam. He became extremely proud and head strong of his position as the creator and about his powers/jnAnam. Sriman Narayana as usual wanted to teach him and decided to remove his (Brahma’s) pride. A couple of water droplets from the lotus seat of the Lord incarnated as two Asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha; Due to Bhgawath sankalpam, one (kaitapan) was of thamO guNA and the other (madhu) was of rajO guNA. They stole the Vedas from Brahma. Emperumaan smiled.
Unable to carry on his work of creation without the Vedas, Brahma rushed to the Lord and pleaded the Lord Narayana for mercy and saving Vedas. BrahmA prostrated to the Lord and said:
“Vedas alone are my eyes; they are my wealth; They are my Lord. The whole world is surrounded by darkness due to the absence of Vedas. How am I to proceed on my creation without the Vedas ? Please arise from the Yoga nithrA and help me Lord! Please give me back my eyes which have been blinded by my own pride.”
veda: mE paramam dharma, veda: mE brahma sOtthamam”
- This avataar is described in VishNu puraaNam as “mathsya kUrma varaaha ashva simha rUpaathibhi:”. In BrahmANda purANam during maheshwara-naradha samvaadham, Naradha describes this avthaar. Even when naradha praises Sri rangan in this PurANam, he says “ashva sirasE namah:”. That is why the Lord is called Madhusoodhanan. (for having killed madhu and kaitabhar). Sri Paraasara Bhattar in his Sri Rangarajasthavam (utthara sathakam-52 nd slOka) says “Sri ranganAthA! You, as Hayagreeva rUpI, removed the hurdles of madhu, kaitapar to BrahmA and recovered the VedhAs and saved the whole world!”. In MahAbharatham, Shanthi parvam, hayasira upaakhyaanam details Hayagreeva avathaaram. Srimadh Bhagawatham, too, describes Hayagreeva avtaar.
- There is another version of this avtaar and killing of asurAs. When paraLayam was about to end, Bhagawaan out of His dirt from the ear drum made two small solid balls and dropped on the Lotus leaf and BrahmA activated the PrANa vaayu, which gave life to these two, as madhu and kaitabhar. These asurAs appeared and grew up. BrahmA started off his creation and Vedhas were snatched away by these two asurAs. When the most compassionate Lord, Parama kaaruNikO Bhagawaan wished to please the asurAs, without killing them, asked them as to what they want as a boon. These two asurAs said “we can give You what You want”. That is it! The Lord decided to kill them. They said “Can You kill us only where there is no cover for the sky?”. The Lord immediately took Hyagreeva avtaar and removed His cloth on the Thighs, put them on His thighs and killed them. Bhagawaan’s legs house the Earth and the space/sky. Since the Lord removed the cloth from His thighs and killed them, He still complied with what they challenged Him. What they thought was impossible to happen, He could make it happen with no effort. He, thus saved the Vedas and saves the world. The moral is: thamas, rajas guNAs are to be destroyed to reach Him.
- There is yet another interesting “different” version in BrahmANda PuraaNam- Sri Devi Bhagawatham. There was a asurA, by name Hayagreeva (with horse face) who did his severe penance/ tapas on Parvathi Devi. Parvathi, pleased with his tapas, appeared in his front and the asurA asked for “no death”. She said “Impossible-can not be granted”. Then the asurA amended the request and said “Except for a horse faced one, no one else can kill me”. (thinking that it can never happen!). She consented. He became tremendously proud of his achievement and started harassing every deva and rishi. He troubles all three worlds. He snatched away the Vedas from BrahmA and disappeared. Then is the history. The Lord appeared as Hayagreevar and killed the asurA to save the world and bring back the Vedas.
- There is yet another puraaNic narration on Hayagreevar. At Kanchi, Agasthya muni was on severe penance on Sriman Narayanan and the Lord appeared as Hayagreevar and was immensely pleased with his tapas. He blessed the muni with Devi mahaathmyam. This is described in BrahmANda puraaNam Sri Hayagreeva agasthya samvaadham.
- During Tripura samhaaram to entice the asurAs, the Lord appeared as “other religious” saint (buddhism?) and appeared as Hayagreevar to mislead the asurAs from the Veda maargham (from the path of Vediv traditions and sayings). Thus, He made them lose their ability to get saved and the Lord won. (As also claimed and reported in Buddhism in a web site as follows: Like Mahakala, Hayagriva is one of the Eight Great Protectors of Buddhism, a guardian and a destroyer of obstacles to enlightenment(!). He is a popular personal, or tutelary, deity among the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism. Hayagriva’s crown of skulls is surmounted by Hayagriva’s attribute, a horse’s head, alluding to his origin as a horse-headed Hindu god. The terrific neigh that emanates from this horse’s head is said to pierce through the illusory nature of reality. Although he was also popular in Tibet and China, Hayagriva’s association with the horse may have had a particular appeal to the Mongols. (This, I read in the Net in some buddhism web site!) Swami Desikan in his “navarathna maalai” says ” puRamuyarttha asurargatku puRam uRaittha poyyinaan”. (to explain the Lord thus, misleading the asurAs by taking non-vedic religion (Buddhism)).
Scriptures on Hayagreevar (Madhusoodhanan)
Since, Lord Hayagreevar killed the asurAs, madhu and kaitapar, He is referred to as Madhusoodhanan.
- In BrahmANda puraaNam, Sri RangarajamahAthmyam, Om namO VishnavE Deva MadhussodhanathE Namah: refers to Madhusoodhanan Sri Hayagreevan.
- Srimad Valmiki RamayaNam BalakaaNdam 76th sargam, 17th slOkam Parasuraama says to Rama “akshayam madhuhanthaaram jaanaami tvaam surOtthamam”. I realise that You are the DevaadhiDevan, immortal, MahAVishNu, the One who killed madhu,kaitapar.
- Also, when Rama (before proceeding for His PattabhishEkham), gets up in the wee hours, in Brahma muhUrtham, He performs His anushtaanam and pays obeisance to Lord Hayagreevan “dhushtaava praNadhaischaiva sirasaa madhsoodhanam” (6th sargam-7th slokam).
- In Kishkinthaa kaanDam, Vaali tells Sri Rama “Even if that rAvaNan hids SitA in PaathaaLa lOkam, no problem. You could have just told me so. I world have brought SitA back from anywhere wheresoever like Sri Hayagreevar brought the Vedas killing Madhukaitapar. (17th sargam-49th slOkam)
- When Hanumaan went in search of sanjeevini, and other aushadhaas, he saw the pleace where chathurmukhan (brahmA) performed thiruvaaraadhanam for Lord Hayagreevar. Commentators, are reported to have praised this slOkam as “hayaananam, hayagreeva araadhana sthaanam”, and “hayaananam – BhagawathO Hayagreevasya sthaanam”.
- Sri MahAbhAratham, Santhi parvam mentions Haygreeva avataar.
- Sri HayagreevOpanishad, naturally elaborates the greatness of Haygreevar.
- In Rk vEdam, “vaagham bruNi sookhtham”, “apradhiratham”, Yajur vEdham, “yajnya prakaraNam”, Saama vEdham, udgItam, AdharvaNa vEdham, Shanthikam, Bhaushtikam are all referring to the greatness of Lord Hayagreevar.
- Periya Thirumozhi 7-8-2, by Thirumangai AzhwAr says “munivvEzhu ulaghum iruL maNdiyuNNa munivarOdu ??parimukhanaay aLittha paramanai kaaNmin”.. maeaning: “See the Lord who appeared as the white horse faced Lord to recover the VedhAs when the whole world was pitch dark due to the absence of four Vedas”
- Thiruvaaymozhi 2-7-6 NammAzhwAr says “madhusoodhananai anRi maRRilEn..” There is NONE but Madhusoodhanan only? which refers to Lord Hayagreevan. (eeadu vyAkhyaanam also explicitly refers to Lord Hayagreevan)
- Also Thiruvaaymozhi 2-8-5 “maavaaghi, amaiyaay, meenaaghi, maanidamaay.” Commentators say that maavaaghi refers to Lord Hayagrrevan. Upanishad bhAshyakaaarar Sri Rangaraamanuja Swami. HayO bhUthvaa, HayagrIvO bhUthvaa? – is referred to in 9000 padi Bhagavath Vishayam. Says Saakshaath Swami or Periya Parakaala Swami. He refers the padham “maavaaghi to Lord Hayagreevan only.
- PeriyAzhwAr pAsuram 1-9-10 “thunniya pEriruL soozhndhu ulaghai mooda, manniya naan maRai muRRUm maRaindhida?.” Refers to Sri Hayagreevan.
Our AchAryAs on Sri Hayagreevan
- Alavandhaar (Yamuna muni) while praises his Grandfather (his Guru’s Guru), says “madhu jithangri sarOja thatva jnAna anuraag..” . He (Nathamuni) became a great jnAni/bhakthA at the Feet of Madhsoodhanan (Hayagreevan). YamunAchArya also refers in his SthoThra Rathnam 13th slOka to Haygreevan for which Periyavaacchaan PiLLai comments that it narrates about the recovery of Vedas by Lord Hayagreeva and handing over to BrahmA. That makes us realise Alavandhaar’s involvement on Lord Hayagreevan. He also requests the Lord Madhusoodhanan (in 57th slOkam) to mercifully remove all non-vedic thoughts in the world and traditions existing in the world to save us as He did earlier as Haygreevan by killing madhukaitapar to establish/recover Vedas.
- SvEthAsvara upanishad, “yO BrahmANam vidhadhaadhi poorvam?. Mumukshuvai saraNamaham prapdhyE..” means: adiyEn who is interested only in mOksham, a mumukshu, surrenders to the Paramapurushan, who did parama upakaaram by recovering Vedas from madhukaitapar and handed over to BrahmA to save the world”- i.e Lord Hayagreevan.” BhAshyakaarar Sri Ramaujar took this manthrA in his Saranaagathi Gadhyam and surrenders to the Lord.
- Here asvam in svEthAsvara upanishad refers to the Lord Hayagreevan (White Horse faced Lord)and that is why Swami Desikan refers Lord Haygreevan in Rahasyathraya saaram as “veLLai parimukhar”. (Swami Desikan’s bhakti for Hayagreevan needs no elaboration to this Group)
- Sri Kooratthaazhwaan in his “sundharabaahusthavam” 84th slOkam highlights Sri Hayagreeva avataar.
- In 121st slOkam also, Kuresa says “Do not think that there are only 10 avataars of the Lord. Even Hamsa, hayagreeva, NaranaraayaNa avataars are also His only are equally grand and great.
- In 58th slOkam of Sri Vaikunta sthavam of Kooratthaazhwaan, it is said “Adhyaathma saasthraas are established by Emperumaan in Hayagrreva avtaar by recovering vedas and saving the world.
- Swami Desikan in his last pAsuram of Sri RTS, says “It is the white horse faced Lord who wrote in my mind and I have written that on the palm leaves.
- Lakshmi Hayagriva Bhagavan is the Archa Murthy of both Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam as well as Sri Parakala Matam.
HOW LORD HAYAGREEVA VIGRAHAM CAME TO US
Bhagavan Ramanuja re-established the Visishtadvaita siddhaantham and commented on Brahma sUthram in his Bhashyam. This excellent, unambiguous vyAkhyaanam was completed by Yathiraajaa and fulfilled his “maanasika guru” Yamaunaacharya’s wish (manOratham). Ramanuja “officially” released the commentary at the grand gathering of all sanskrit scholars and Vedic scholars at Saraswathi Peetham in Kashmir, in front of Saraswathi Devi. Goddess Saraswathi, immenslely satisfied at the excellent commentary and the truthful presentation of Brahma sUthram, she honoured the commentary by confering a award calling it “SRI BHAASHYAM”. Also, she was extremely happy with Yathiraajaa, she presented to him a Divya mangaLa vigraham of Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevan. Since the, Yathiraaja was performing Thiruvaaraadhanam for Sri Kalshmi Hayagreeva Vigraham daily.
This vigraham, through Thirukurugai piraan, through our AchAryAs, came to Sri Vedanta Desikan. Afetr Swami Desikan’s period, this is passed on to Sri Brahma tantra Swami and is now with Mysore Parakala Matham Swami. Even today, the Thiruvaaraadhanam is being performed on this Divya MangaLa vigraham of Lord Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevan. If one has a close loving glance at the Lord Hayagreevan’s vigraham, He has four hands, and has a beuatiful Horse face, sitting on a white Lotus. His Lotus Feet wears “salaghai” (paayal). His upper two hands hold Sankhu and ChakrA. His lower right hand offers jnAnOpadEsam to us, bhakthAs. Other hand hold Japamaalaa. Also, it appears as if He is granting us boons. VishNu DharmOttharam, VaishNava Moorthanya DharaNi part describes Hayagreeva Thiruvuruvam (form). There it details eight hands for Hayagreevan, where four hands hold Vedas (four children) and other four hold Sanghu, ChakrA, GadhA, and Padmam. Afterwards, He is blessing us with four hands as detailed above.
Even Sri VishNu puraaNam, details Sun as the Horse faced one for upadEsam. Hayagreeva avtaaram is for VedOpadEsam and granting us jnAnam. (Swami Desikan was initiated into the Great Hayagreeva Manthram). Once Swami Desikan wished to stay at ThiruvaheendraPuram and was proceeding from Kanchi. On the way he stayed at some remote place (that belonged to a grain merchant). There lot of grains were stored and piled in sacks.
There Swami Desikan did not have anything to offer to his Sri Hayagreeva vigraham and hence, offered just water and he also went to sleep, without eating anything (just by drinking few drops of water that he had offered to the Lord). Midnight, the merchant noticed a very big, beautiful white Horse which started eating those grains from a sack. The merchant, thinking that it belongs to Swami Desikan, immediately woke him up to tie the white horse. Swami Desikan has tears rolling down his cheeks, and prostrated to the Lord (who had come as the White Horse) and explained to the merchant and asked him to bring a pot of milk. The excited merchant and others brought milk which the Lord drank happily and disappeared.
Next day morning the merchant chased Swami Desikan, (who had actually started off his journey to Thiruvaheendrapuram) and informed that the whole sack (from which the white horse ate) is full of Gold coins! Swami Desikan smiled and was overwhelmed with joy for His mercy and leelA. That place is called “pon viLaintha kaLampudhoor”.
Other sampradaya AchAryAs on Hayagreeva
- In Dwaita sampradaayam, Gururajar, (also called Vathirajar) in 15th century A.D, adorned the Madhva Matham as a Peetadhipathi. He calls his nithya thiruvaaraadhana prasadham as “Haygreeva Pandi”, that is made of kadalai, (Dhal), vellam (saccharin), coconut etc and taste like Sakkarai pongal. Guru rajar used to offer to the Lord, by keeping the Prasadham on a big plate and raise it above his head with both of his hands. Sri Hayagreevan, used to gracefully appear as a real horse and keep His front two legs on Gururajar’s shoulders and eat (“sweegari”cchufy) the Prasadham. (What a scene it should have been!). What remains used to be Gururaja’s only food always!
- Also Sri Hayagreeva upasakas are: Aanghirasar, Adharvaa, Vasishtar, Adhi Sankarar, Panditha rajar, and so on.
- Adhi Sankara, who established the Adavita Siddhantham, is also called BhagawathpaadaaL. In his VishNu sahsranaama bhAshyam, for the name “theerthagara” (691st name per sankara paadam), he write the commentary as ” Hayagreeva rUpENa madhukaitabhoU hathvaa virinjaaya saakhaaruthou sarvaa sruthi adhyaasa cha upaadhisat”? Means: The knowledge (jnAnam) is like an unbounded and limitless waters. There are dangerous steps in that pond, where we may tend to slip down. There are also lovley, non-dangerous, most enjoyable steps, where we can blissfully take bath. There are about 14 (or 18) such steps, namely four vedas, sikshai, vyAkharaNam, chandha, niruktham, jyOthisham, kalpam,(they are all vEdhanthams), mImAmsam, nyAyam, (DarshanangaL), dharma saasthrAs, purANam, are the 14 VidhyA sthAnams. In addition, there are Ayur vEdam, Gandharvam, Artha saasthram, Dhanur vEdham that add to a total of 18. If one include the “dangerous” non-vedic steps of Buddhism, Jainism, also there are even 20.
- Who is the Lord of all Vishyasthaanam? Was the question and Sri Bhagawadh PaadhAL in his vyAkhyAnam says: the One who killed madhu, kaitabhar and brough back the Vedas to the world and saved the world, Sri Hayagreevan is the ONLY ANSWER. (daivatham Devathaanaam). All VidhyAs pay obeisance to Him, Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevan with folded hands and He blesses them.
- Panditha Rajar, in his rasagangaadhara kOsam, says Sri Hayagreevar hasgot sakala VidhyA srEshtathvam.
Works on Sri Hayagreevan
- Sri Vedanta Desikan: Sri Haygreeva SthOthram
- Sri KrishNa Brahmatantra Swathantra Jeeyar- Sri Lakshmi Hayavadhana PrabhOdhika sthuthi
- Sri Lakshmi Hayavadhana PadukA sEvaki- Sri Lakshmi Hayavadhana Rathna maalaa SthOthram
- Srimad Abhinava RanganAtha Parakaala Jeeyar – Sri Hayagreeva Ashtakam and Sri Haygreeva panjara SthOthram (that houses Sri Hayagreevaaushtu manthram)
- Srinivasa kavi- Sri Hayagreeva ashtakam
- Varadhakavi Sri Venkataachaarya Swami- Sri Hayagreeva ashtakam, Sri Haygreeva ashtOthram
- Sri Sevaa Swami- Kalaakalana maalikA.
Greatness of Lord Sri Hayagreevan
- Swami Desikan in his Hayagreeva SthOthram, says: “Even DhakshiNA moorthy (Sivan) and Saraswathi pay obeisance to Hayagreevan and are blessed with VidhyA Sakthi by Lord Haygreevan’s grace. (DhAkshiNya ramyaa girisasya mUrthi: Devi sarOjaasana dharma pathnI..). Also he says: the followers of Sri Haygreevan shall chant this stotram and benefit with the blessings of Lord Hayagreevaa (“paThata hayagrIva ?) “Read the haygrIva stotram with bhakti”, for attaining fluency over words and true knowledge about the Truth and to attain true knowledge about the siddhAntam.
- In Paraasara puraaNam, agasthya naaradha samvaadham, Sri Hayagreeva ashtOthra sadhanaama stHothram blesses us a palasruthi, (“naama naamshtOththarasatham hayagreevasya patEth?avaapya sakalaan bhOgaannithE hari padham vrajEth?”) BhakthAs of Sri Hayagreevan, will be blessed with sakala Vedha saasthra jnAnam and be blessed with truthful knowledge. They will also live very happily in this world with their spouse and children with sakala sowbhAgyam and REACH THE LOTUS FEET OF SRI HARI for sure.
Article by: Sri V.Madhavakannan
This article is reproduced from: http://www.parakalamatham.org/articles/mkarticle.shtml