Thuppul Pillai: 12 – Swamy Desika’s Life Is An Open Book Which Teaches Us All

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Azhwar Thirunagari Swami DesikanSrI:

SrImathE Nigamantha Mahadesikaya namah:

SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |

vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||

Swamy Desikan was handed over such a great inheritance by his poorvacharyas (spiritual preceptors) and wonder of wonders, he not only exhibited in himself each and every quality of all those great souls who had gone before him but also embellished those traits with excellence of poetic genius, courage of conviction, unique devotion and rare tolerance and endurance.

He was a great visionary and saw great vistas of human knowledge and understanding before him. He cultivated broad outlook of life end eschewed all narrowness in thought, word and deed. Like the Paramathma, with whom he was in daily communion, he set no limits to his thoughts or writing. By doing so, he set an example to his disciples and followers to pursue their quest for knowledge without limits and boundaries. His fertile imagination and innovative thinking probed deeper and deeper into the mysteries of life which ultimately held no secrets from him. Through him, the ordinary men and women of all times are able to understand the entire gamut not only of VisishtAdvaita philosophy but also of other philosophies whose deficiencies he succeeded in getting exposing to their adherents. One can even say that unobtrusively, Sri Desika had shown all embracing personality and universality and his own special Viswa roopa darshanam through his personal life teachings and writings.

Secondly he was a great humanist. Every person endowed with a modicum of talent and skill is supposed to use them for the benefit of humanity and remove the woes affecting his fellow beings. Several are instances in which he sprang to the aid of his less-fortunate and misguided people around him. His helping the poor bachelor [read later about Sri sthuthi sthOthra] who wanted money for his marriage by singing Sristhuthi, his generosity in helping the poor farmer with fresh and green corps by his prayers to lord Hayagrivan and his compassion towards his colleagues after winning them over in sadhas.

It is impossible to compartmentalize him. He is like a fruit whose sweetness permeates even the skin and seed; whose every part is as sweet as the whole form wherever one can cut a piece and taste. Taking the analogy of fruit further, just as we take the Lord as indivisible and pray to Him for His total grace, we have to dwell on the total divinity of Swamy Desikan and seek his blessings in entirety to eliminate our deficiencies.

Ul-Desikan-Sannidhi_Srirangam_017 Ul-Desikan-Sannidhi_Srirangam_018

He also taught us how to pray to the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayanan and His consorts. Not for him are prayers for material pursuits of good health, destruction of enemies and vengeance to wreak etc. Such prayers are only for those who are unable to see themselves as other than physical bodies and who do not think of themselves as the souls caught in the endless cycle of births and deaths. Sri Desika has time and again, stressed in several of his teaching on the total concept of God full of infinite number of qualities- attributes. ? who is all pervasive, omniscient, benevolent, magnanimous, all knowing, and full of grace. So he sets an example in all his hymns by praying for his mercy and grace to enable him to see Him, retain Him in his mind and heart and remember Him even on his death bed.

The amount of work Swamy had made, defies description. He lived on daily alms collected by going round to houses of pious householders, performed daily worship to the Lord, wrote several works of a highly spiritual and philosophic content and last but not the least, conducted discourses on several abstruse topics and enlightened the multitude. His untiring energy is even today- a source of inspiration to us. He unraveled several riddles and clarified questions of indispensable concern to human lives. The answers and clarifications which he produced out of his prodigious wisdom were universally praised, acclaimed and their veracity appreciated in no uncertain terms. His fine tuned thinking amidst antagonistic expressions and vicissitudes reached the target of truth by its sheer scintillating positive brilliance which even his enemies came to adore.

Our Acharya was on par with [if not excelled] his predecessors in simplicity and austerity in his life. He was self abnegatingly indifferent to physical wants. He twice spurned the offer from his child hood friend Vidyaranya [read Vairagya panchakam slokam later] to provide him with a job under the king. When a well intentioned house wife mixed gold coins in her daily offering of rice, he told his DevigaL to remove them with a stick as they were dangerous [we will read later about this in his life history]

Swamy Desika’s life is an open book which teaches us that if we live a life of piety, imbibe a spirit of accommodation and tolerance, refuse to thrive at another person’s expense, share and dispense co-operatively to others, do not surrender to selfishness, greed or passion, hold out to others sympathy and compassion, accept dharma as the only sustaining foundation of life, conduct our lives righteously, shun exhibitionism and identification with pomp and show, avoid wanton waste and overbearing behavior, we too can achieve a modicum of the greatness of Swamy Desika who in the span of mere 100 years has shown the beacon light for several centuries and will continue to blaze forth for many more millennia. [from Sri Sevaa Swamy,s malar- written by Sri Krishna Dutt Sharma]

Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam

kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |

Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||

Salutations to Sri Venkatesa, in whom all perfections reside, who is the teacher of Vedanta and the lion among poets and debaters

Writeup by : Sri Madhavakannan

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