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Swami Desika An Incarnation of Lord Venkateswara
Mannargudi Rajagopalacharyar, Chennai.

ஸாக்ஷாத்நாராயணோ தேவ: க்ருத்வா மர்த்யமயீம் தநும்!
மக்நாந் உத்தரதே லோகாந் காருண்யாத் சாஸ்த்ர பாணிநா!!

"Sriman Narayana, urged by His mercy, takes the form of a human being and plunges into the sea of Samsara, to uplift the Jeevas with his own hands which are nothing but the scriptures," so avers the Jayakhya Samhitha.

This means that the Lord takes the form of a preceptor to lead the mortals towards Eternal Bliss and Immortality. According to Sasthras, "A person will surely reach Hell, if he considers the Lord's idol to be a stone or a preceptor to be a mere human being". Hence, all preceptors are to be revered as the embodiments of the Lord. Even in that, Swami Desika is a unique preceptor inarguably a Saakshaath personification of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala.

That both the Lord and the Acharya share the same Avathara Day (the Lord of the Seven Hills descended to the earth as Swami Desika on the Sravanam day in the auspicious month of Purattasi) is too much to be a coincidence, especially in the light of the following unquestionable proofs.

1. Pillai Anthaadhi is a Sthothra composed on Swami Desika by Sri Kumara Varadacharya, his illustrious son and disciple. In the fifth sloka, he states,

அன்று இவ்வுலகினை ஆக்கி அரும்பொருள் நூல் விரித்து
நின்று தன் நீள்புகழ் வேங்கடமாமலை மேவி, பின்னும்
வென்றிப் புகழ் திருவேங்கடநாதனென்னும் குருவாய்
நின்று நிகழ்ந்து, மண்மேல் நின்ற நோய்கள் தவிர்த்தனனே!

It is very clear from this paasuram, that the Lord of Tirumala Himself took the form of Swami Desika to uplift the mankind from the world of depravity.

2. In the Sthothra "Sri Desika Mangalam" by Sri Kumara Varadacharya, the fourth stanza states thus:

வேங்கடேசாவதாரோயம் தத் கண்டாம்சோ அதவா பவேத்!
யதீந்த்ராம்சோ அதவேத்யேவம் விதர்க்யாயாஸ்து மங்களம்!!

This type of contemplation of various possibilities upon the nature of a thing is called "Uthprekshaa" in Sanskrit and is used by scholars in Sahithyas (verses). In Uthprekshaa, conventionally and logically, the author's first take is stronger than those that follow. Here, it is to be noted that Sri Varadacharya puts the Avathara of the Lord first and then moves on to that of the Divine Bell. Hence, the premise that Swami is Lord's avathara takes precedence over the others.

3. Sri Thirumangai Azhwar has prophesied the Avathara of Swami Desika in Periya Tirumozhi (10-1-2).

பொன்னை மாமணியை அணியார்ந்ததோர்
மின்னை, வேங்கடத்து உச்சியில் கண்டு போய்
என்னை ஆளுடை ஈசனை எம்பிரான்
தன்னை, யாம் சென்று காண்டும் தண்காவிலே!

The Lord of Venkatadri was seen by the Azhwar in Thiruthanka the birthplace of Swami Desika. The deity of Thiruthanka is actually named Deepaprakasa and hence it can be safely and strongly concluded that Sri Kaliyan meant the forthcoming incarnation of the Lord as Swami Desika.

4. Finally, Swami Desika himself, in his inimitable way, shows us that he is the incarnation of Lord Venkateswara. In all his sthothras he has used vocatives, addressing the deities by their names, viz.

  • Hayagriva Sthothra Vaageeswara!
  • Varadaraja Panchaasath Vaarana Saila Natha!
  • Saranaagathi Deepika Deepa Prakasa!
  • Abheethi Sthavam Rangeswara!
  • Kaamasikaashtakam Kaamasika Kesarin!
  • Devanayaka Panchaasat Vibhudha Natha!
  • Paramaartha Sthuthi Ranapungava!
  • Dehaleesa Sthuthi Gopapuraadhi Raja!

But interestingly, the author does not invoke the name Venkatesa in his Daya Sathakam. A person does not call out his own name! Sri Swami ingeniously makes a Kalyana Guna of the Lord (the divine quality of Mercy) to be the subject-matter of the Sthothra and it is clearly a master-piece in the realm of sthothras. This proves beyond doubt, that Swami Desika is none other than the Incarnation of Lord Venkatesa of Tirumala.

Let us invoke the blessings of Lord Srinivasa by paying our obeisance to His incarnation Swami Desika!

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The author is Asthaana Vidwan of Sri Ahobila Mutt

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