Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sri Stuti Vedanta Desika

Sesha Seshi Relationship is vital
Twin Nature of God Hood is Lord and Sri
The goal for each one of us is to reach the two of them - The two together are our refuge

(PART 1)

Vedanta Desika’s Sri Stuti is a terrific piece that defines the Vaishnavite philosophy.  Comprising of 25 verses, it is rich in text and content and ranks alongside Alavanthar’s Chatusloki (will be seen shortly in this section). 
Vedanta Desika starts Sri Stuti with complete surrender at the feet of Goddess Lakshmi and states that she is the one who recommends us to the Lord for Moksha among every other thing. This address to Sri is particularly significant because she constitutes half of the ‘Divya Dampathee’.

In the initial set of verses, he prostrates to her and refers to mere mortals like himself as destitute with no refuge other than reaching out to her as his refuge.

மாநாதீத ப்ரதித விபாவாம் மங்களம் மங்களாநாம்
வக்ஷ பீடீம் மது விஜயிநோ பூஷ்யந்தீம் ஸ்வகாந்த்யா

பிரத்யஷாநு ஷ்ரவிக மகிமா ப்ரார்த்திநீநாம் ப்ரஜாநாம்
ச்ரேயோமூர்த்திம் ச்ரியமசரண த்வாம் சரணாம் ப்ரபத்யே

Sri’s Greatness
Vedanta Desika then showcases the greatness of Sri.

He praises her greatness as being immeasurable. ‘Her greatness is so huge that it defers all measures.’

Not only is her greatness immeasurable but it is also indescribable. She has very distinctive qualities and none of that is measurable. He refers to himself as one with modest intellect and hence poses the question as to how he can even contemplate singing praise of her. And yet he says he is trying to attempt to describe her features.

பூமா யஸ்யா புவநமகிலம் தேவி திவ்யம் பதம் வா
ச்தோக ப்ரஜ்ஞைரநவதி குணாசஸ்தூயஸே ஸா கதம் த்வம்

It is her Mangalam that is treated as most auspicious.  The simple fact that she ever resides on the chest of Lord Vishnu is enough to showcase her greatness. He further praises her as residing on a throne on the chest of the Lord. He describes her as the very structure of all good things. Devotees who with unflinching faith invoke her blessings are granted all good things including non worldly things like Moksham.

He says she is the one who appeared in the milky ocean and the Yagna of Janaka when he ploughed the ground. Her greatness is exemplified by the fact that she possesses this world and the other world i.e Sri Vaikuntam.

And as he goes on, one comes across more of Desika’s humility. He positions himself as being blessed by her and dedicates any good thing done by him to her blessings.

Sri’s Powers
Next one finds a brilliant verse describing the power of Sri.

He says that there are those who seek to start on a mission of singing praise of her. Even as such thoughts crop up in their minds, they become achievers right at the moment that such thoughts come up in their mind.

He may not even have started to compose but the very thought would have raised them to popularity. And how is that possible if it were not for her blessings.

ச்தோதவ்யத்லம்      திஷதி பவதீ தேஹிபி: ச்தூயமாநா
தாமேவ த்வாமநிதர கதி: ச்தோதுமாஷம்ஸமாந:

ஸித்தாரம்ப்: ஸகல புவந ஸலாகநீயோ  பவேயம்
ஸேவாபேக்ஷா தவ சரணயோ: ஷ்ரேயஸே கஸ்ய ஸ்யாத்

If one seeks to serve her, then it is likely that all kinds of blessings will be showered on such people. And they need not worry about anything for that very moment when he started to think about her, all benefits would have started accruing to him.

Lord is Great but how does he have that Greatness
He refers to the Lord as the soul of all sentient and non sentient and all moving and stationary things and describes him as the soul and life. It is through his will that one has even got an opportunity to be born in this world and to live and finally die.

Even Yogic like Sanaka meditate on him. While Upanishads use different terms like Sat, Atma, Brahman, it always connotes Narayanan. Having thus praised the Lord, Vedanta Desika moves on to Sri and says that his greatness is all because of her residing in his chest almost meaning to say that without her presence he may be bereft of such powers.

Vedanta Desika goes on to imply that such powers will work in full steam only with the presence of her red lotus feet on his chest.

பூர்ணம் தேஜ: ஸ்புரதி பவதீ பாத லாக்ஷா ரஸாங்கம்

Direct Address – Their Qualities are EQUAL
While the 4th verse extolled God’s greatness and his powers being functional only with her presence, in the next one he addresses her directly and is far more definitive about her role.
Vedanta Desika praises them as a unique couple ever in mutual love. Both have exceptional qualities. One can be denoted by relation to the other and are always working together for the world’s good. He goes on to describe their abodes.

Adisesha is referred to as the abode for both not just for the Lord, Yogis of great blemish-less purity is another and the Vedas is referred as another abode. He concludes referring to their distinctive qualities as being complementary. He also refers to their qualities as being equal. And ends the verse saying the goal for each one of us is to reach the two of them. The two together are our refuge.

Sesha Seshi Relationship is vital
உத்தேஷ்யத்வம் ஜநநி பஜதோருஜ்ஜி தோபாதி கந்தம்
ப்ரத்யக்ரூபே ஹவிஷி யுவயோரேக ஸேஷித்வ யோகாத்

பத்மே பத்யுஸ்தவ நிகமைர்நித்யமந் விஷ்யமாணோ
நாவச்சேதம் பஜதி மஹிமா நர்த்தயந் மாநஸம்  :

On the one end is the soul that has attained realisation - it is a slave, a servant and a dependent. At the other end is the Divine Couple. This Sesha Seshi relationship is fundamental to our philosophy says Vedanta Desika.

Our aim is to directly surrender to her. Unlike the five yagnas and homams where the names of Indra, Agni, Brahma and Siva are extolled, the surrender of the soul seeks to avoid this last process of going through external deities and is a direct surrender to Her. And Desika reaffirms that we have only goal the Seshi-  the Divya Dampathee.

Our hearts have been able to comprehend the true nature of God hood as a twin personality – the Lord and Consort. Vedanta Desika is delighted at achieving this realisation and is happy at the triumph. 

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