Over seven hundred and fourty-five years ago, in the year 1268 CE, Swami Desikan was born as Venkatanathan to his parents, Anantha Suri and TotAmba, in a small village called Thuppul on the outskirts of the famous town of Kanchi. Swamy Vedantha Desikan’s contribution to the VisishtAdvaita Srivaishnava philosophy [Bhagawath Ramanuja Darsanam] in the proper evaluation of the theories and concepts of all schools of thought and rejection of those which are opposed to those of his system i.e. Vedanthic and Vedic religions, can’t be described in words. There is no name in the world of Sanksrit literature and philosophy combined like the name of Vedantha Desika.
He is the one who makes all those who surrender to His feet- as Mahaadesikan. He is simply phenomenal. Scholars who lived during Swamy Desikan’s period also mentioned that Swamy is an adhubutha avtar. He is a vidwAn- few said. He is a great intellect few said. He is the greatest poet; some praised. He is our fortune to establish firmly the VisishtAdvaita- some said. Every one said, based on the extent they understood Swamy.
Swamy Vedantha Desikan, we can boldly say was the greatest intellect India has ever produced. He appreciated Vedic philosophy. He was philosophical; and religious; His thoughts were moulded by the writings and teaching of his Poorvacharyas, the galaxy of them- right from Sri SaTakOpa muni (NammAzhwAr), Nathamuni- Yamunacharya- Ramanujacharya- and others. He was a very faithful follower of his master- Sri Ramanuja. He built a fortress around the philosophy of Ramanuja so well; that none can dare enter. He had fullest conviction in the teachings and followings of Ramanuja. He was a lion among poets and logicians. He was a poetic genius. He had the mastery over languages and could use them very effectively to communicate anything he had visualised. But he never went astray with his poetic skills and license and adhered to nothing but the philosophy of VisishtAdvaita. He was the greatest logician, developed logic to argue vidhaNdAvaadhis, he entered into hair-splitting discussions and dialogues in his works when he had to explain the various Vedic Upanishadic and other purAnic works. His works are about 120 in number. The subjects are varied. But the soul of these works is the same.. i.e. Ramanuja darsanam. He wrote original works in Sanskrit; also commented on the works of his Acharyas- namely Yamunacharya and Ramanujacharya. He wrote sthothras, kaavyas, drama, prose etc.. His style is inimitable for its depth of ideas, sweetness, simplicity and ease; it is majestic, sometimes tough. He was a great admirer of Adhikavi Vaalmeeki and Kalidasa. His poetic work Hamsa sandhEsam, though similar to Kalidasa’s mEgasandhEsam, is original in many respects. Daya sathakam is a unique composition wherein he personifies grace (Divine grace- daya), without which Lord’s other qualities are of little value and help to suffering mankind- Swamy says. AbhIthi sthavam is an invocation for the Lord’s protection from evil forces from both within and without. His GodhA sthuthi is a piece of place of great lyric beauty and merit and talks of Sri GodhA’s influence with the Lord through love and Desikan’s surrender to Her compassion.
If Nathamuni retrieved the holy collects, if Yamunamuni propounded it, if Ramanuja muni expounded it, it was given to Vedanta Desika to systematize it!
Swami Desikan was conferred the title of Sarva Tantra Swatantra (master of all arts, one with the capacity for independent thinking and originality in any field), by Ranganayaki thaayar Herself, and Swamy was adorned with the title Vedantachariar by the Lord of Sri Rangam Sri Ranganatha.
We have seen in many houses, the Jaathagam of Lord Rama (http://anudinam.org/2012/07/12/sri-rama-krishnargal-jathagangal-horoscope-of-rama-and-krishna/), which is auspicious to have at home and to meditate on Perumals avatharams and the upakarams he has done to us through these avatharams. Similarly, this is the Jaathakam of Sarva Tantra Swatantran – Swami Desikan, taken from two very old resource. Each and every Jivatma, especially Srivaishnavas should be grateful for the upakarams done by Swami Desikan to our sampradayam and should keep meditating on Him and his works.
“தர்க்க பாண்டியத்தாலே நினைத்ததெல்லாம் ஸாதிக்கலாயிருக்கச் செய்தேயிறே, நாம் ப்ரமாணசரணராய்ப் போருகிறது”- Swami Desikan