SrImathE Nigamantha Mahadesikaya namah:
SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |
vedAntAcArya-varyo me sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||
May the glorious Venkatanatha, the greatest of teachers of Vedanta, and the lion among poets and debaters, reside forever in my heart.
Lord Devanatha is taken during festivals to several places in the outskirts of Thiruvaheendrapuram for the worship of people living there. Sri Vedanta Desika used to go occasionally to such places sanctified by the Lord as though on pilgrimage. Once it so happened that he used to stay in one of those places at night. As usual he worshipped his ArAdhana deity Lord Hayagriva whom he always used to yELLa pannufy [carry] with him. The worship was conducted at night and by chance there was nothing with him that he could offer as NivEdana. With a sad heart he went to take rest.
At mid night, he was awakened by the farmer of the village and reported that a milk white horse, which was new to their village- never seen before- was grazing the green corps of the field and it must belong to the new comer- i.e. Swamy Desikan. Swamy Desikan smiled and congratulated the farmer that he has been blessed by Lord Hayagriva by setting foot on his fields. The next morning the farmer was glad to see that the corps were fresh and green. He fell at the feet of Swamy for having brought the Lord’s blessing to him so unexpectedly.
Sri Vedantha Desika is popularly known as the author of treatise on house building, silpa saasthra. But such a manuscript is not available now. At the same tradition records that there is a well constructed by Swamy at Thiruvaheendrapuram which exists even today and Lord Devanathan is taken every year on a particular day to that place.
The well was constructed by Swamy Desikan in all perfection even though the materials used were not up to the mark. The bricks were ill formed and clay mixed with some kind of salt was the joining material since there was no cement those days. A pilgrim to Thiruvaheendrapuram always goes to that well and uses a handful of water with greatest respect. It seems he built this well- when challenged by a builder as to his title on Sarvathanthra swathanthrar and he was asked to prove by building a well with such ill formed bricks and clay mixture. Swamy as usual won the challenge. There is also a dhivya mangaLa vigraham of Swamy’s which was sculpted by Swamy himself when challenged by someone else on a different occasion.
It is said that once Sri Vedantha Desika left Thiruvaheendrapuram to go to Srirangam and other centres. After traveling for a day, he took rest in a place for the night when Lord Devanatha appeared in his dream and asked him to return. Swamy went back being blessed by the Lord with love and devotion. Then he wrote several literary works there praising the Lord: achuyhtasathakam, Devanatha panchaasath mummaNikkOvai, navamanimalai and others . The Lord is his lover and he- His heroine. Lord is his saviour, hero, deity for worship and the giver of all desirable things in this world and in the Paramapadham as well.
The goal of life for Sri Desika was devotion and worship of the Supreme Lord. He did not want to serve anyone to earn his livelihood. To lead his daily life, he would go round the streets of the city singing hymns of Alwars and sthOthras composed by acharyas and by him. He never asked anybody to give him any material, but accepted raw rice offered with respect by residents of the city. He prepared food from that rice and offered the food to the Lord and then took as prasAddham.
When Swamy was at Kanchi, one day a bachelor came to him and requested him to give some material in order to conduct his wedding. Swamy was moved by his request and advised him to worship Goddess Sri PerundhEvi Thaayaar. Then he led the Brahmachaari Boy to Her sannidhi and taught him the sthOthra Sri Sthuthi. He went around the sannidhi reciting that sthOthra with the lotus feet of divine consort in his mind. There was huge roar of shower of gold coins. In fact wherever her glances fall, there is flood of desirable wealth- says Swamy Desika. Such was Swamy’s power to amass wealth. But never chose to earn that way. [as against our running amuck after wealth and only that as the main objective rest all is not all a priority.. Especially Bhagavdh vishayam ‘ not now.. Only after retirement.. vetkam, vetkam ashamed of even calling myself a Desika bhakthan..]
yasyaam yasyaam disi viharathE Devi dhrushta tvadheeya
tasyaam tashyaam AHAM AHAM ikaam thanvathE samadhOgaa:
Oh Goddess! In whichever directions Your glances fall, in all those places leaps of wealth flow competing themselves to be the first to bless the recipient of your mercy.
thEshaam bhoomeh dhanapathi grhaat ambaraat ambudhEr vaa
dhaaraa niryanti adhikam adhikam vanchithaanaam vasonaam
To those persons, who begin to meditate unpolluted in their minds there will be flow of all desirable wealth before them immediately either from the earth, or the place of Kubera or from the vast sky or from deep ocean
Such is the result of the worship of Periya Piraatti Sri Mahalakshmi.
The skill of Sri Vedanta Desika in the composition of literary works in prose and poetry, epic and drama is equally miraculous. All this is done without a desire for praise or for remuneration.
If Kalidasa had written Khandakava, Megha Sandhesa, Swamy Desika has composed the Hamsa sandhEsa sent by Sri Rama to Sri Sita in Ashokavana in Lanka.
Again, Yadhavaabhyudhaya in twenty four chapters written by Swamy Desika is equal if not better in merit to Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa.
When PrabhOdha ChandrOdhaya was shown to Swamy Desika, he was inspired to write Sankalpa suryodhaya, an allegorical drama. Viveka / discretion- is the hero; Sumathi- correct wisdom is the heroine. All the qualities, good and bad, are the various characters in the drama. Viveka and Vishnu bhakthi come together. A comparative study of this drama and abhignana Sakunthala of Kalidasa will be really interesting and show the skill of Swamy Desika as a dramatist.
Padhuka sahasra is yet another miracle performed by Swamy- one thousand verses on Sandals of the Lord ” is said to have been composed by Swamy Desika in the course of one night [that too for three hours] as against padha kamalasahasra which was composed ? about 300 verses completed.. in one night by the person who had challenged Swamy.
Then in the year Sowmya when the sun had reached the Vricchika month, on the day of Kritthiga asterism, the best of Acharyas, Acharya Saarvabhouman Swamy Nigamantha Mahadesikan gave up his body and attained Acharyan ThiruvaDi – the eternal abode.
sreedhee yOgyE SakE ShuklE udhabhUth vEnkatEswara: |
labdhaprAyE SakE prAyAth sowmyE sa param padham ||
Acharya Sri Venkatesa appeared in this world in the year Sukla. After having lived for hundred years, he attained the permanent abode- Sri Paramapadham- in year Sowmya. It may be noted Swamy Desikan appeared in the star of ThiruvONam– same as that of the first Azhwar– when Poigai AzhwAr appeared and attained Acharya ThiruvaDi in the star of Kritthigai- the star when the last AzhwAr Thirumangai AzhwAr appeared. Thus he is verify the personification of 12 AzhwArs themselves– one may say.
Much more has to be written about Swamy Desikan the literary Giant, but we stop here since we cannot complete the list of his works in one life time.
[From the Life and works of Sri Nigamantha Mahadesikan- by Prof Sri A Srinivasaraghavan]
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