Experiencing Swamy Desika -- #76
Shrimate Shri Lakshmi Nrusimha Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Seetha Ramachandra Parabrahmane Namaha:
Shrimate Shri Ramanujaya Namaha:
Shrimate Nigamantha Maha Desikaya Namaha:
Shrimate Shrivan Satagopa Shri Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikaya Namaha:
"SrimAn VenaktanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI!
VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi"!!
We dealt with a Sloka from abheeti stavam in our previous posting.
Adiyal would now like to elaborate on the situation that lead to the
birth of the storam.
Swami Desikan and Shri Pillai Lokachariar had to save the ShrutaprakashikA
and Srirangam temple. This is a historic event. Many temples were being
looted and desecrated by Muslim invaders.Like the many temples that
fell prey to the Muslims, Srirangam was also was plundered by invaders.
Srirangam was invaded by Malik Kafir the general of Alauddin, the sultan
of Delhi. The Acharyas gathered together and took counsel. They decided
to divide themselves into three groups and act secretly. Preparations
were made to move the Utsava Murthy of Rangantha to safety. The
objective was not to confront the enemy but to focus their efforts to
ensure that the moola vigrham was not desecrated.
One group under Shri Pillai Lokachariya, who was the eldest, was to take
the idols of Lord Ranganatha and His consorts in a covered palanquin and
proceed south ward after crossing the river Kaveri.
Another party under Shri Sudarsana Suri and others were to stay at
erect a stone wall in front of the sannidhi to protect the Lord [Anantha
Sayanar] and save the temple and city from devastation from the Muslims and
they were prepared to lay down their lives for this.
The third team was to provide cover for the team lead by Shri Pillai
Lokachariya [the team with the idols of our lord and his consorts] so that
Shri Pillai Lokachariya has enough time to maintain safe distance
from the enemy.
Swami Desika who was the youngest among the Acharyas was persuaded by
Shri Sudarsana suri to go with the third party and somehow save himself so
that he atleast might be left to propound Sri Vaishnavism and
the teachings of Acharya Shri Ramanuja.
Shri Sudharsana Suri entrusted his two sons - who were very young -
with Swami Desika as well as the very valuable and only manuscript
Shrutaprakashika was written by an old and scholarly Vaishnava called
Shri Sudarshana Bhat. Shrutaprakashika is a work that was made out of
generations of learning's and this is an elaborate commentary on
Sri Bhasyam. Apparently, Shrutaprakashika was recorded by
Shri Sudharshana Bhat during the kalakshepams of Shri Nadadur Ammal.
Swami Desika had an ernest desire that it must be saved for the
benefit of prosperity. So, Swami immediately took up the direction
from Shri Sudharsana Suri and left northward with a number of
The cruel muslim army which was in samayavaram, a village few miles away
from Srirangam, attacked and killed many of them. Swami was appalled at
this murderous act by Muslim invaders and he had to act quickly to avoid
further Sri Vaishnava loss. We all are aware of Swami's genius and this
was yet another moment to bring out his true skills.
Swami saw heaps of corpses lying around and he asked the boys to lie
stretched underneath some of them and our dear Swami also lay down next
to them with the book. Sri Desika thus concealed the two boys and himself
amidst a heap of corpses and passed the night. The enemy troops that passed
by assumed that they were corpses and did not bother to probe. Before dawn
he took the boys and moved away unnoticed in North-Westerly direction.
Swami composed Abheeti-stava - (Lyric for the repulsion of fear) on Lord
Ranganatha himself praying with Devotion that the army of the muslims
should be driven from Srirangam and the Lord should return to his city
for relief of devotees in distress. He often repeated this and prayed
to invoke the mercy of the Lord.
As we saw in our yesterday's posting, Lord always tries to please His
devotees. So, our Lord did heed to Swami's prayers. The muslim
invaders were driven away from Srirangam by the chieftain of Gingi fort
in South India. The idols of the Lord Ranganatha and His consorts were
reinstalled in the temple.
Swami saved the SrutaprakaasikA for our sake. Even today we see Swami
in the archA vigraham with a symbol of teaching in right hand and the
form of SrutaprakaasikA in the left.
In Srimad Vendanta Desika mangalaasaasanam, Shri Kumara varadaarya
addresses this incident thus:
"srutaprakaasikA bhoomau yEnAdhau parirakshitA !
pravartitA ca pAtreshu tasmai srAshtAya mangalam !!"
Shri nayinarAchAriyAr addressed Swami Desika as "srAstar".
"srAstar" is an adjective given to mention a superlative tense
however, in this Sloka it is used to mention about Swami as
"one who does something which others cannot do".
Our Swami is respectfully remembered for this great act of saving
the "srutaprakaasikA" and it is for this precise reason, all
Sri Vaishnavas remember Swami before beginning the study of Sri Bhashya.
When we get immersed into the gigantic efforts of Shri Pillai Lokachariya,
Shri Sudarsana Suri and our unparalleled Swami, we may realise that all the
drama - of muslim invasion, the trouble thereon - could well be the leela
of our Sriya:Pathi. Maybe our Lord wanted to "see" himself being "protected"
by his devotees. Who or How else can we explain the need to "save" our
"Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana guna SaalinE!
SrimatE VenkateshAya VedAnta Gurave nama !!"
...To be continued!
dEsikan tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam
Praveena nAmni Ramanuja dasi