Thuppul Pillai: 2 – Greatness of Swamy Desikan


Thoopul Swami DesikanSrI:

SrImathE Nigamantha Mahadesikaya namah:

SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |

vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||

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. All his works both bog, small, breathes this trend.  There is no name in the world of Sanksrit literature and philosophy combined like the name of Vedantha Desika.

It is aDiyEn?s intent to enjoy with you the glories of Swamy Desikan- Thuppul Kula maNi by remembering his life, by immersing ourselves in his works, and by enjoying the greatness and mastery of the same. Though we can not [I can not] enjoy the granthas to the fullest extent for lack of jnAnam [in me], even great scholars have declared their failure in attempting to know the depths of Swamy’s works. So, we are not alone. both in failing and in enjoying as well.

[I refer mostly to Sri A Srinivasargahvan’s book on the life and works of Vedantha Desika, the malar released by Sri Seva Swamy, the souvenir released by Thiruvahindarpuram devotees and Sri Anbil Ramaswamy Swamin’s articles]

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 Avatar. 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 our Swamy.

Before reading his great mystical life history, let us read the breathtaking huge list of his works: [to read the list itself takes time.. Swamy wrote all of them in one life time. It is told by scholars, that one can not even read all of his works fully in one life time. Such was the greatness of Swamy’s works. It is not that he wrote just ordinary works [engaatthukkaararum kacchErikku pOraar type.. ]; He wrote gems after gems, Every one grantha out beats the other. Many of you may know all this. But there are few who do not know; and it is my intent to reach those few. Also for those of us who know, – this is just rejoicing and relishing Swamy’s glories again? [kasakkumA]

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. [We will enjoy all of his works in detail later]. 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 Sri vaishnavam. 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.

Let us look at the amazing list  in the next series

kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |

Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||

Writeup by : Sri Madhavakannan

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