Bhu Stuthi – Introduction

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Sri Bhumi Devi with Lord Oppiliappan, Thiruvinnagara Kshetram

Sri Bhumi Devi is the consort of Sri Oppiliappan in Thiruvinnagara Kshetram. I will focus here on some of the shlokas of Swami Desikan’s Bhusthuthi, where he explained to us about Her special role in Sri VaishNava sampradhAyam. If Sri Sthuthi was an elaboration of Sri Sooktham, Bhusthuthi is an elaboration of the concepts covered by Bhusooktham.

In thirty three shlokas, Swami offers his homage to Sri Bhudevi, as the Dharma Pathni of Yajna Varaha Murthy, who fought with the Asura known as HiranyAksha to bring back the stolen Bhumi Devi from under the ocean. Our Acharya points out here that she is easy to approach by Chetanas and she is the sustenance of the Chetanas.

Sri Bhumi Devi with Lord Oppiliappan, Thiruvinnagara Kshetram
Sri Bhumi Devi with Lord Oppiliappan, Thiruvinnagara Kshetram

He states that Sriman Narayana is enriched by His association with Bhumi Devi. The seventh Shloka covers his thoughts on this aspect of Bhumi Devi. Through the latter half of this verse, he proclaims:

TVATH SANGAMAATH BHAVATHI MAADHAVI LABDHAPOSHA:
SAAKA SATAI: ATIGATHO HARICHANDANOSOU

Here Swami Says that Sriman Narayana, who is like a Harichandana tree (a variety of Kalpaka Tree), gets His nourishment by His association with Sri Bhumi Devi and thereby becomes empowered to perform His duties as praised by the hundreds of branches of the Vedas..

Swami Desikan’s reverence for Bhumi Devi is revealed in the sixth shloka, where he recites her many names to provide an unambiguous description of her and dwells on her many glories as the dear wife of the Lord. His choice of words is Sarvam Sahaa, Avani, Viswambhara, Achalaa, Vipulaa, Vasumdharaa, Ananthaa, PruthvE et al. By the holy name of Sarvam Sahaa, he points out that she represents her infinite patience with us in putting up with our many trespasses. By the name Avani, She indicates Her functions in protecting the universe; by the name Achalaa, She represents Her steady resolve in helping the Prapannaas to receive the mercy of Her Lord; by the name Viswambharaa, She hints at Her duties of bearing the Universe; by the name Vipulaa, she points out to Her Immeasurable auspicious qualities; by the name Vasundharaa, She reveals Her enormous wealth.

To show the unique distinction of Bhuma Devi and Her special place in the affection of Sriman Narayana, Swami states that Bhagavan carries Sri Devi only in His chest, where as He carries Bhuma Devi on His thousand heads in His role as Adisesha:

VISWAMBHAREH MADHURIPU: PRANAYAANURODHAATH
SESHAATMANAA TU BHAVATHEEM SIRASAA DHADAATHI

The Lord gets His nourishment from Sri Bhumi Devi
The Lord gets His nourishment from Sri Bhumi Devi

In resonance with the first Rk of Bhusooktham, Swami Desikan states that she enriches and nourishes the Earth and makes it produce all riches including food and minerals. The First Rk of Bhusooktham is as follows:

BHUMIR BHOOMNAA DHYAURVARINAANTHARIKSHAM MAHITVAA
UPASTEH TEH DEVYADHITEH AGNIM ANNADHAM ANNAADHAYAAYAADATEH

In this Taitiriya samhita mantram, the invocation in honor of Bhumi Devi is referred to. The meaning of this Mantram is as follows:

O Bhumi Devi! You are immeasurable in Your dimensions; it is not possible to assess your expanse. You shine forth in a manner that is respected by every one. Your qualities of compassion and forbearance elevate you to dizzying heights; You can not be divided into finite pieces by anyone. We offer the Agni that is capable of consuming the Havis for you in appreciation of our recognition of you producing the food that nourishes us.

Swami Desikan’s twelfth shlokam of Bhusthuthi echoes the sentiments of the above Bhusooktha Mantram. It begins with the words:

BHUTHESHU YATH—–

Here, Swami says that those living beings, which are the object of the mercy of Bhumi Devi get nourished through Her blessings very well; he also says that among the five elements (Pruthvi, Water, Agni, Vayu and ether), only Pruthvi, the amsam of Bhu Devi has the five qualities such as Taste, Fragrance, Shape, Touch and Sound. The rest of the four Pancha Bhoothams have one or two of the above attributes only. As a result, Bhoomi Devi is the embodiment of the mighty riches.

In the twenty eighth shlokam of this Sthuthi, Swami addresses her as Kshameh and goes on to describe her influence with Her Lord to help chetanas approach Him. Our Acharya says that she is like a ladder (Svarga apavarga SaraNi) for Svargam and Moksham. In yet another verse, Swami describes Her as the possessor of blemishless quality of Mercy (Anapaanukampaa). She prepares therefore the fearing Jivans to approach Her Lord. The chetanas are bent down by the fear that their enormous sins can not be expiated by any amount of Praayaschittam. They are scared to experience the fruits of their accumulated sins through prolonged residence in Narakam. While they are in the grip of such terror, they pray to You and You out of your infinite compassion take pity on them and use Your influence with Your Lord to get the boon of entering Srivaikuntam.

Swami Desikan concludes the Bhusthuthi with a splendid word picture enshrined in the Dhyana shlokam. Here, he describes her as the Adivaraha Mahishi seated on the immense tusk of her Lord (Bhuvaraha Murthy) arising out of the Pralaya waters:

PATHYUR DAKSHINA PAANI PANKAJA PUTEH VINYASTHA PAADHAAMBHUJAA
VAMAM PANNAGA SAARVABHOWMA SADHRUSAM PARYANKAYANTHEE BHUJAM
POTHRA SPARSA LASAT KAPOLA PALAKAA PULLAARAVINDHEKSHANAA
SAA MEH PUSHYATU MANGALAANY ANUDHINAM SARVAANI SARVAM SAHAA

The above verse is set in the majestic Sardhoola Vikrititham meter in contrast to almost all of the other shlokas of this Sthuthi, which are set in the lilting Vasantha Tilaka meter.

In the above Dhyana Shlokam, Swami describes the beautiful vision of Bhumi Devi resting both of Her Lotus feet on the right palm of Sri Varaha Bhagavan and placing Her head on His Cheek, while being embraced by His left hand. Our Acharya says that the intimacy of her cheek touching the cheek of Her Lord made her experience the sensation of horripilation. Our Acharya prays that Sri Bhumi Devi in that state of auspiciousness (Romanjali) and the enjoyment of the proximity of Her Lord’s presence (Saamepyam) to confer on us all blessings every day.

Courtesy: Sri Oppiliappan Koil Sri Varadachari Sathakopan

to be contd…

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