Sri Dasavathara Stothram – Introduction


Swamy Desikan composed this sthOthram, when he was living at Srirangam. After his morning anushtAnams at Cauvery, he used to stop at DasAvathAra Sannidhi on his way to the main sannidhis of Sri RanganAyaki and Her dear consort, Azhagiya MaNavALar resting on His bed of AadhiSeshan.

One day, the bhagavathAs assembled at the DasAvathAra Sannidhi appealed to Swamy Desikan to bless the world with a SthOthram on the ten incarnations of the Lord. Swamy received the request as BhagavAn’s command and composed a very beautiful sthOthram on the DasAvathArams of the Lord. Thus came into existence the thirteen slokams of Sri DasAvathAra sthOthram, where Lord RanganAtha Himself is visualized as an actor on the stage of Srirangam playing ten different roles (Vibhava avathArams) to please His divine consort and His rasikAs assembled to enjoy this riveting play. As one of the commentators observed, this SthOthram is about “AvathArakAri SrI RanganAtha Vishyakam”. This sthOthram seeks “the Jn~Ana roopa KshEmam” for us all.


The DasAvathAra Sannidhi was built by none other than Thirumangai AzhwAr. Today this sannidhi with consecrated images of the ten avathArams of the Lord is under the Aadheenam of the blessed Jeeyars Sri Ahobila Matam.

The entire SthOthram is set in the majestic SaardhUla Vikreetitham metre.

The Dasavatharams of the Lord of Srirangam, the Aadhi Bhagavan

From the incarnation as Mathsyam (Fish) to the enchanting Krishna, Lord’s nine Vibhava avathArams have been celebrated in Vedam, IthihAsams, PurANams and AchArya dhivya Sookthis. From Sukha Brahmam to Swamy ParAsara Bhattar salutations have been made to the glories of these avathArams that have taken place and the Bhavishyath (Future) avathAram of the Lord as Kalki at the end of Kali Yugam. AzhwArs have been deeply immersed in singing the Vaibhavam of these Vibhava avathArams as they performed their mangaLAsAsanams at the dhivya dEsams. Thirumangai Mannan’s and Swamy NammAzhwAr’s dhivya Prabhandhams are replete with their anubhavams of the ten avathArams of the Lord. KulasEkhara PerumAl focused on Lord’s avathAram as Dasaratha Nandhanan and PeriyAzhwAr as well as ANDAL devoted themselves to the blissful anubhavams of KrishNa charithram and LeelAs.

In this essay, adiyEn will present the meanings and the brief commentaries of the thirteen slOkams of Sri DaSAvathAra SthOthram known for its high watermarks of poetry and devotion. Original sketches of the avathArams have been assembled by the artist members of the Sundara Simham ghOshti. Photos from Dhivya dEsams have also been included for a full enjoyment of the sacred sthOthram of Swamy Desikan.

Commentary by: Sri Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

to be continued…

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