Sunday, August 3, 2008

Swamy Desika’s Abheethi Sthavam - Verses on Absolute Freedom from Fear

Swamy Desika’s Abheethi Sthavam (Verses on absolute freedom from fear)
(Translated by Shri.Anbil Ramaswamy)

Swami Desika says to us the below message through beautifully composed 29 shlokas, and summary or saaram of each are as below-

1. If you surrender to Ranga, he will remove the fear of Samsara. Addressing the Lord, he continues-

2. As Sri Rama, you promised publicly protection for those who surrender unto you..

3. Though I did not do this poem conscious of your saving grace, I beseech you to be merciful enough to accept this as an act of dedication.

4. Vayu, Surya, Agni, Indra , Yama and others do their duty being afraid of disobeying your commands. Those who surrender to you, however, need have no fear even these Devas.

5. For the one who does anyone of the following viz., praises, prostrates, meditates, sings your names, circum-ambulates your Praakaarams, or thinks even one of your innumerable Kalyana Gunas, there can be no fear from anywhere, at any time.

6. Did you not declare in Varaaha Avataaram that even if the Prapanna does not remember you at the time of death, you would remember him and take him to Moksha ?

7. For one who recites anyone of your names or anyone of your six prime qualities- Where is the fear of Naraka ?

8. You make the place where a Bhaagavata (who turns away from worldly pleasures and turns to you only) lives as your very headquarters fit for performance of Punyakarmas like Bhagavad, Bhaagavata Kainkaryam without interruption.

9. Even if a Prapanna should err in carrying out his duties, you have vowed to remove the fear related to his lapses and to extend your hand of protection.

10. Due to Karma Vasanas, Chetanas get deeply involved in Samsara and are afraid of even your benign intervention and prefer to fall for the bait of Samsaric pleasures like fish that get hooked in the fishermans net. 11. I know why you are carrying weapons. Since you have yourself declared in Bhagavad Gita that the one who loves you is a Gnaani and your very Antaryaami. You need the weapons in protecting your Antaryaami. This amounts to Self- defense. Right ?

12. Only when one realizes that wife, sons, brothers, other relatives, servants and wealth are so transitory and fear generating that one turns to you for enjoying- the only permanent entity.

13. Garbhavaasam before birth, the hell after death, the miseries in between, the body made of flesh, blood, fat, bones etc.,- are all really nauseating. Compared to your Srivaikunta, even Swarga looks a veritable hell. Which of these does not cause fear ?

14. If you do not show mercy, who else can ? If I am not the most worthy of your mercy, who else is ?So, you should protect me.

15. Did you not give out a solemn vow as Sri Rama that if one surrenders to you even ONCE, you will guarantee full protection form all beings- Sarva Bhutebhyo? In fact, unlike Vibhishana and Sugriva who had their own vested interests in seeking your protection, I have none and nothing to call my own. So, I am the fit object for your grace. How can you repudiate your own solemn vow ?

16. Several Prayschittas are prescribed in the Sastras for the expatiation of sins. One falters and commits errors of commission and omission even while performing these Prayaschittas, thereby being incapable of completing even these. I am a classic example. I have no go. Only you have to exercise your Sankalpa to save me.

17. I am unable to give up the Vishaya Sukham which I know full well to be bad and impediment to enjoying your grace. Though I am afraid of continuing in this, I am unable to get out of the rut. Only you have to make up your mind that since despite all this, I am wholly dependent on you, it is your duty to save me.

18. The Upanishads declare that you have no Papa and so you have nothing to fear. But, even you have one fear ! You are scared of forfeiting the goodwill of a Prapanna whose wish you fail to fulfill !

19. You relieved Prahlada of the fear from his father; You relieved Kakasura from the fear of your own Brahmastra; You relieved Gajendra of his fear from the crocodile; You relieved Draupadhi from the fear of disgrace at the hands of Dussaasana and his gang; You relieved Vibhishana from his fear of Ravana; You relieved Kaalinga from the fear of being crushed to death when you danced on his hoods; you protected the cowherds from several dangers; You saved Ambarisha from the wrathful curse of Durvaasa. And, many others got rid of fears by surrendering at your feet. So, we will also be freed from all fears by placing ourselves at your feet.

20. The Paramaikantins living in your Tiruvarangam are now distressed that they are not able to perform their Nitya Aradhana and enjoying your Swayam Vyakta Archa murthi- thus, enjoying in this Bhooloka Vaikuntam what Nityasuris are enjoying in your Paramapadam. Please restore us this Bhaghyam.

21. Conscious of the fact that our divine mother is on our side to recommend and secure your protection for us, we have surrendered to you both. You should employ your resplendent Chakra and other weapons to dispel the distress of your Bhagavatas not only in Srirangam but in every other of your shrines. [ Note: That is why in all shrines of the Lord anywhere in the World, we recite not once but twice the words " Sriman ! Sriangasri, Anubadravam Anudinam Samvardhaya"]

22. Oh! Lord ! Buddhists and Charvakas tried to destroy our Siddhanta at intellectual and emotional levels by presenting their faulty tenets; The Turushkas and Yavanas , like the very messengers of Kalipurusha, are trying to destroy by physical force. Please save the situation if need be by using violence with all your five powerful weapons and restore peace of mind for us.

23. Your Chakra combines the brilliance of Agni, Chandra and Surya and is capable of dispelling the darkness both internal and external. It is your Chakra that should restore Vaidhika Dharma once again in Srirangam- your Headquarters on earth.

24. Your "Sri Ranga Vimaanam" has been propitiated by great souls like Manu and Maandaata. There is fear that these marauders who are worse than Asuras might cause damage to this Vimaanam. You have to dispel THIS fear.

25. You have a powerful retinue for whom nothing is impossible.-Anantha, Garuda, Vishwaksena, Kumuda and his hordes, Cityfathers who guard your Nityavibhuti, the Dwarapalakas who stand guard at your gates et al. Each one of them is capable of protecting not only Srirangam but the entire world. You may depute anyone of them to accomplish the task. Cant you ?

26. Neither Brahma, Nor Siva, Nor Indra, Nor Agni, Nor Yama nor any combination of these can save the one who commits Apacharams to you or your Bhagavatas. If you are determined to protect someone, none of these Devas either alone or in combination can cause the least harm to that person. Cant you quell these infidels who interrupt our seva to you ?

27. You measured the 3 worlds with just 3 steps; Kaitabhaasura fell like darkness before the Sun; Madhu was like a particle of dust caught swirling in the midst of a thunderstorm; You broke the hard mountain like heart of Hiranyakasipu; Kaalanemi was felled like a tree. There is no end to your acts of valor. Cant you quell those who prevent us from performing our daily chores of service to you ?

28. Oh! Lord ! I have spent my whole life in enjoying the sweet Srisuktis of Sri Bhaashyakaara; I have become old; the hairs on my head have turned milky white. All that I seek in the evening of my life, is to place me either in Srirangam or any other Divyadesam where there will be no enemies to prevent us from doing service to you. Place me amidst Satviks who always think of universal welfare without any tinge of jealousy or other base intentions. Finally, Swami Desika turns to us and advises-

29. " Read this ! Bhagavatottamas ! I Venkatanathan, have composed this Sthavam with the blessings of great Acharyas. The great ocean of mercy, Tiruvarangan will destroy all your fears. May you enjoy Mangalam"

" Read this" commands Swami Desika " if you want to get rid of fear" Vide his last stanza of this Sthavam. It is seen from Srimad Valmiki Ramayanam, that when the Devas surrendered to him, he promised them protection declaring" Bhayam Thyajatha ! Bhadram Vah " whereby Ramayana came to be known as Abhaya Pradhaana Saaram. As these words were spoken by Lord Ranganatha himself, this Sthavam is a tribute to Saranagathi.

Swami Desikan asks " How can there be any fear at all?"-" Kim Atra Na Bhayaaspadam?" when in all the 4 Charamaslokas of Varaha (sloka 6), Sri Rama (sloka 15), Sri Krishna (sloka 5) and Periya Piraatti ( sloka4), we have been promised time and again, full protection to those who surrender unto Him.

Swami Desika mentions that even if the Lord were to let him die, he would deem it a leela of the Lord and submit to it wholeheartedly. Vide Sloka 18 : "Tathah Srushtivath Bhavathi Samhrithi Kreeditham". In several other places in this and other Stotras, , he has expressed that there is no Yamabhaya for a Prapanna. (e.g) In Sloka 7 he asks "Na tasya Yama vasyathaa Naraka Paathah Bheethi Kuthah?"

Sloka 1 to 10 : praises the Lord, his auspicious qualities etc., and prayer for protection of those who worship Him and recite His names.

Slokas 11 to 18: describes the various kinds of fears one encounters while LIVING - which negate the Paripoorna Brahma Anubhavam like attachment to wife, children, kinsmen, worldly objects, bodily infirmities , hell (Naraka) and even heaven (Swarga) .

Slokas 19 to 27 : Swami Desika makes a fervent appeal to the Lord that He must save not only Srirangam but all the shrines in which His Archa murthis are installed and where Satvik devotees reside. It is in this part that a very casual reference is made about the invasion.

Sloka 19 catalogues how protection was granted to Saranagathas like Prahlada, Kakasura, Gajendra, Draupadi, Vibhishana, a serpant, Gopa damsels and Ambarisha- all of whom got rid of fear bedeviling them by seeking refuge at the feet of the Lord.

Slokas 28 and 29 are somewhat autobiographical and conclude with a moving appeal to grant him the company of pious souls who always pray for mutual welfare and away from the madding crowd of infidels.

The hymn begins with the word "Abheeti" (freedom from fear) and ends with the reassuring and comforting word "Gopayati" (The Lord protects).

Our Acharya, in his "28 Ratna Slaokangal" has selected 26th Sloka which Says- "Prabho ! Neither Brahma, nor the slayer of Tripurantaka (Paramasiva) nor the Chief of Devas (Indra), nor Agni (Lord of fire) nor Yama (the Lord of death) - NONE has the power either alone or in combination to protect one who is thy foe. If thou hast desired to protect one, there is nothing of which that person need be afraid of. Such a thou, Please put down and quell our foes in Srirangam and other places"

In this connection, our Acharya invites our attention to Paramarthya Adhikara of Rahasya Traya Saara in which Swami Desika says-" Even if the Devas intend to harm a Prapanna, the Lord true to His promise "Abhayam Sarva Bhootebhyo Dadaami, Yetat Vratham Mama" will certainly protect the Prapanna and destroy his/her foes.

Swamy Desikan TiruvadigaLe SharaNam,

Srimad Abhinava Vageesha Parakala Maha Desikan TiruvadigaLe SharaNam,



Interpretations of “Govinda” naama

Interpretations of “Govinda” naama

An Article written and provided by my friend and philosopher, Samskrita ShiromaNi Smt. Dr.Saroja Ramanujam.

Gaam Vindhati Iti Govindaha”

The word 'go' has several meanings in sanskrit such as earth, knowledge, indriya,svarga,or mokshaastra Cow, veda etc. Based on that the scholars explain the name thus:

1.Gaam(second case singular of 'go') , svargam or moksham vindhayathi,secures ithi govindhah. He is govindha because He bestows mukthi.

2.Gaam, ishum, meaning astras vindhathi - He acquired the astras from Visvamithra in Ramavathara.

3.Gaah(accusative plural of 'go', pasu.) vindhathi. He knew the cows, that is, He knew them to be the rshis of dandakaaranya in His krishnavathara.Balarama is also implied by the word cow as He went with Krishna for gorakshaNa

4.Gobhih (instrumental plural of 'go'meanind veda.) vindhyathe. He is known through the vedas.

5.Gaam, vajram, vindhayathi. He made it possible for indra to get vajrayudha by instructing him to approach Dhadheechi and beg him to give his backbone.

6.Gavaa (instrumental singular of 'go'meaning dhrk, look) dhrsaa vindhathi. He knows all by His dhrk or appropriate kataksha.Her knows how to look at every one and when.

7.Gaah nethraaNi vindhathi- He has thrinethra, three eyes as Nrsimha, and also eyes everywhere, 'sahasraakshassahasrapath'

8. Gaah, jwaalaah, vindhathi, has fiery form, being Suryamandala madhya varthi.Chandhogya upanishad describes Brahman as 'Ya eshahantharaadhithye hiraNmayah purushah dhrsyathe hiranyasmasru hiranya kesa aapraNakhaath sarva Eva suvarNah'.

The purusha seen inside the orb of the Sun with golden beard, golden hair andexceedingly effulgent even to the very tips of His nails. The purusha here is paramaathman or Narayana.This is the passage where the famous'kapyaasam pundarikam' occurs eferred to in the charitra of Bhashyakaara.

9.Gaam ,bhoomim vindhathi, brought the earth fronm the depth of the ocean, Vatrahavathara and also Parsurama as He wandered all over the earth and trivikrama as He measured the earth with His feet.

10. Gaam , jalam vindhathi. resorts to the waters, Mathsya and Koorma.

11. Gaam vedam vindhathi. He alone knows the real purport of the vedas. Refers to Hayagrivaavathara.

12. Gaam ,indhriyam vindhathi .The Lord of the indhriyas, Hrishikesah. Makes the indhriyas enter into appropriate vishaya.

There are even more meanings mentioned by the saintly commentators but These are the generally quoted meanings. Andal was fond of this nama is also shown by her mentioning it in the threwe of her main pasurams.

Srivilliputhur is referred to as Govindhan vaazumoor.Commentators say that Andal being the avathara of Bhudevi had more love for govindha nama as the Lord saved her in Varahavathara.

Gaam vindhathi.Govindha pattabhishekam is extolled as being even superior than that of Rama because Valmiki says 'vasavo vaasavam yathaa', of the coronation of Rama comparing it to that of Indra but here Indra himself did the abhisheka of Krishna as Govinda.

Bhagawan's tirunamam is greater than the lord, as it was govindanama which came to Draupadi's rescue when needed.

Sarvam Sri Lakshmi Hayagreeva preetyartham,


Dasharathi Dasan