SrImathE Nigamantha Mahadesikaya namah:
SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |
vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||
It is well known that Swamy Desikan is an incarnate of the Lord Thirumalai Srinivasan- ThiruvEnkatamudaiyaan’s GhaNTa- the divine Bell of the Thirumala sannidhi. The divine incarnate of the Lord,s sanctum sanctorum divine Bell rings again and again composing 120 works . It is not an ordinary bell which is kept in sannidhis. This was the Bell used by chauthurmukha brahmA when he was performing ArAddhanam to the Lord. So divine was it and thus the works unparalleled.
Thirumalaimaal ThirumaNiyaay siRakka vandhOn vaazhiyE.. However, Sri Nainacharya declares in PiLLai anthAthi: anRu ivvulaginaiaakki arum poruL nool viritthu ninRu than neeL pugazh vENkatamaamalai mEvippinnum venRi pugazh THIRUVENKATANATHAN enRum Guruvaay ninRu nigazhndhu maN mEl ninRa nOygaL thavirtthananE.
In times of yore, That day- The Lord Bhagawaan- had created the worlds; Then, He taught the essence of Vedas as GitAchAryan [declaring the essence of gitA in the last chapter as rahasyam- the doctrine of Saranagathi]; Then, He stands resplendently on the Thirumala mountain as Srinivasan- to the delight of everyone; [similar to the farmer who wants his field to be watered well and nurtured to a large extent and be saved- the Lord stand here ensuring the avatars of Acharyas to teach Saranagathi doctrine- showing his Hand towards His lotus feet. In spite of His standing, sending various Acharyas, teaching the doctrine of Saranagathi and following the same as well in their lives, the Lord did not get much response from the masses. So, in order to ensure the people take the right path as declared in saashthars and get saved, He Himself came as an Acharya in this Kaliyuga in his own name- Venkata Nathan- and alleviated all our diseases existing on the earth by reinforcing and concretising the then existing Saranagathi maargam from the times of AzhwArs.
Thus with Vedantha Desika avatars, the Lord willed to let everyone realize the greatness of Saranagathi and be saved from the samsaaric ocean of births and deaths. There is no barrier for any jeevathma as long as that jeevan performs Saranagathi at the lotus feet of the Lord. Hence, Vedantha Desika avatar becomes the greatest avatar made by Venkatamudaiyaan Himself. Also Lord Sri Hayagrivan shows Himself with the vyAkhyAmudrA in one hand, and the book (or leaves) on the other; Desika archA avatars also have this same form, proving that Lord Hayavadhanan has taken anupravESa avatar in this mahAchAryan. Even in DevaperumAL Sannidhi [in Kanchi] EmeprumAnAr Sri Ramanujacharya also shows Himself with upadEsa mudrA [or vyAkhyA mudrA]. Swamy Desikan mentions the same in YathirAja sapthathi as well: [Ramanuja with His jnAna mudrA the resplendent nails dispel the darkness in his heart..]
Swamy Desikan is addressed as Bhagawaan by Sri PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram aNNan Swamy : yammEnE vishNO avathAram– [in Vaibhava prakAsikA].. Sri NainAchryar also says: [in his Desika mangalaasaasanam]
vEnkatESAvathArO(S)yam thadhgaNTAmSOThavaa bhavEth |
yatheendhrAm SO(S)thavEthyEvam vitharkyAyAsthu mangaLam ||
May all auspiciousness be with Sri Vedantha Desika about whom different views were held that he was an incarnation of Lord Venkatesa or he was His divine gantA (Bell) or the divine incarnate of Acharya Ramanuja Himself.
Dindima Kavi (in 14th century) who was a junior contemporary of Vedanta Desika pays tribute to Swamy’s greatness as follows:
There was confusion all around as a result of turbid nature of Kaliyuga; the Vedas were in great distress; (because of misinterpretation); wise saying of the seers were completely ignored; there was an unholy intermixture of all castes; and quite in consonance with this sorry state, all sacred epics and puranas lost their validity; the maayaavaada was in all glee; and the school of nihilism (soonya vada) was having undisputed acceptance by all. It was at this critical juncture that Sri Vedanta Desika came into this world as an incarnation of the great rining divine bell of VishNu for the establishment of Dharma and its protection. He shines all victorious.
vEdhE sancAthakEthE vishNu gaNTAvathaara:
PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram Annan (1300 to 1400 CE) was a junior contemporary of Vedantha Desika and also a disciple of Sri Nainacharya (son of Vedantha Desika). He gives a nutshell about Swamy in his Sapthapathi Rathnamaalika- which we will see when we enjoy Swamy’s life.
Vedas and saasthras declare that EmperumAn has the five Dhivya rUpams, namely, Param, vyUham, vibahavm, archai and Hardham [or antharyami roopam]. The vibhava, archA avathAra roopam is grander than Param- as opined by scholars and Azhwars. [yErAr muyal vittu kaakkai pin pOvadhEn..] Avatars have solwseelyam, sowlbahyam guNam to the fullest extent and thus facilitates becoming grander and more enjoyable. AzhwArs were also deemed as abhinava dasAavathAr. The Lord dwells in the greatest NithyasUri, muktha jeevathmAs when they take AzhwAr AchArya avathars thus making their births as well deemed avathArs of the Lord so- to say. PoorvAchAryas call this avathars as anupravESa avathars. Swamy Desikan himself says at the end of his magnum opus Srimath Rahasyathraya saram – veLLai parimukar dEsikarAy viragAl aDiyOm uLLatthu yezhudhiyadhu Olaiittu yezhudhinam yam udhaRkku yen.. [The white horse faced- Lord Hayagrivan had written in our heart; and [I] only wrote what He had written inside merely reproducing what is written inside.. In the line of Acharyas, Nathamuni, Yamuna, Ramanuja, through upadEsam, they had written also [the lineage that starts from the Lord Himself- as PrathamAchAryan]. What They wrote inside my heart- aDiyEn wrote on the leaves; Thus Acharya avathar is Hayavadhanan’s (Lord Hayagrivan’s] anupravESa avathar himself.
Sriya: Pathi Sarveswaran found that His message rendered for the benefit of humanity, in His incarnations as Sri VarAha and Sri RAma did not get well publicized. So, He reiterated the same more elaborately in His incarnation as Sri KrishNa under the pretext of advising Arjuna, explaining clearly the difficulties involved in other means like Karma, JnAna and BhaktiyOgas and rounding it up with the grand finale that Prapatti which he had earlier instructed was THE BEST means for humanity to reach Him. To reinforce this message, He appeared as ThiruvEnkatamudaiyAn. Despite the message being so loud and clear, people were found ignorant of the full import thereof. So, He deputed Srimad NAthamuni, Srimad YAmuna muni and Sri RamAnuja muni to expound the content of the SAstras through SribhAshya, GitAbhAshya etc. as also the means to practice (anushTAnam) Prapatti through “SaraNAgathi Gadhyam”. During the days of UDaiyavar, the message did sink deep into the minds of people as seen in the affirmation- “SrI RamAnuja DivyAjnA prathivAsaram ujjwalA, dighantha vyApinee bhooyAth sA hi lOka hithaishiNee”. Therefore, the doctrine came to be known as “Sri RAmAnuja Darsanam”.
But, due to the mushrooming of votaries of heretic religions frantically trying to spread their faith, due to our Scriptures lying scattered in different works without being uniformly codified and also due to the loss of the works of Sri NAthamuni hailed as the crest jewel of SAstras (Grantha rathnam), ordinary folk were misled by the spurious arguments of charlatans. Feeling that if this were allowed to corrupt people anymore, the whole world would come to a naught, “Thirumalai ThiruvEnkaTamuDaiyAn” Himself, out of infinite compassion came down as “Thooppul ThiruvEnkaTamuDaiyAn” [As also addressed reventially by Sri Piilailokacharya]. For over 100 years, as Thoopul Desika, He revealed in Himself the aspects of IlayaperumAL of RAmAvatara,
BalarAma of KrishNAvatAra, and “Apara Hayagriva”- all in one.
He spent his whole life in giving kAlakshEpams in SriBhAshya, GitAbhAshya, proving the hollowness of the arguments of opponents in lively debates, creating works on our Darsanam for the benefit of posterity, writing commentaries on Bhagavad RAmanuja’s BhAshyams, erecting impregnable fortresses to protect our SiddhAntam from alien creeds through works.
[The above is compiled from extracts of Articles written (1) by Sri U Ve Navalpakkam Varadhachar Swamin in Thiruvaheendrapuram release souvenir and (2) by Sri U Ve Abhinavadesika Uttamur Swami-Courtesy: “Seva Malar” 1957. Translation: Anbil Ramaswamy]
Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |
Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||
Writeup by : Sri Madhavakannan