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Desika Darsanam - 19. Sri Bhu Sthuthi
Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar, Chennai.

Desika DarsanamSwami Desika pays homage to Goddess Bhu Devi in Sri Bhu Sthuthi, a hymn of 33 slokas. She is the Consort of Lord Yajna Varaha, an incarnation which Sriman Narayana took. Once a demon by name Hiranyaaksha abducted the Earth and took her to the nether world (beneath the ocean). The Lord took the form of a Boar, fought with the demon and slayed him to rescue Mother Earth. This anecdote is extensively brought forth in this sthothra, in eight slokas (from 14 to 21).

Our Acharya has composed the ‘three Sthuthis’ on the lines of the ‘three Sookthas’ – Sri, Bhu and Neela, another instance proving that he is a stickler for tradition. Just as Sri Sthuthi is an elaboration of the Sri Sooktham, Bhu Sthuthi is an expansion of the Bhu Sooktham.

In Bhu Sthuthi, Sri Desika delineates various qualities of Bhu Devi, of which the following are of special significance: Her glory, that is out of one’s grasp to praise; the exalted greatness of the Lord in union with Her; the skill with which She nurtures the world; Her Naamaas that accentuate Her magnificence; the commendation to the Lord she undertakes on behalf of souls; being the means of one’s worldly desires and beyond; the dual form taken by Her (The Lord’s Consort and Mother Earth); being the subject matter of Yogic vision of sages; being the destroyer of penury and one taking the souls to the feet of the Lord.

Invoking the grace of the Goddess, the author submits in the opening sloka as: “Refugeless, I surrender to Bhu Devi, who is all-granting creeper called ‘Kalpaka’; who is the ultimate limit of forbearance; who shows compassion very readily on Her devotees; who is, for the destitute, a virtual ‘Kamadhenu’ – the desire-yielding celestial cow; who is Consort of the Lord, who out of His free will, manifested as Boar; who is the Mother of the entire universe.”

In the sixth sloka, delving on the Names of the Goddess while enlisting a few of them, thus says Sri Desika, “O Mother! You have umpteen names and each one is uniquely applicable to you and you alone. They individually extol your greatness in no uncertain terms. They include Sarvamsaha (all-forbearing), Avani (nurturer), Achala (steadfast is protecting), Viswambara (bearing all beings of the world), Vipula (immeasurable) and Vasundhara (affluent). They all directly refer to you while signifying your characteristics.”

With a delectable metaphor-mixed dual connotation, the fact that Her union with Sriman Narayana enriches Him, is asserted in the next sloka. The Lord is a sandal tree that shines through hundreds of branches – the Vedas; wipes out the heat of worldly maladies; one on which flowers in the form of Devas right from Brahma bloom; one that offers cool shelter of compassion on devotees; one that provides fruits in the form of fulfilling the devotees’ desires. O! Bhu Devi, this tree is best sustained by the association of the supporting creeper in You.

Emphasising in the tenth sloka the exalted status that the Lord has conferred on Bhu Devi, the author observes that He carries Sri Devi only on His chest whereas bears Bhu Devi on the head in the form of the thousand-hooded Aadhi Sesha. This is indicative of His unifold love for Mahalakshmi and manifold love for Bhu Devi, having enjoyed the latter’s association in many ways. A logical and absorbing interpretation indeed!

Swami Desika's imagination explores and finds new vistas as he deals with the dual form of Bhu Devi in Sloka No. 23. Employing dual connotation ever so astutely, he describes the Goddess in Her role as Consort of the Lord on the one hand and that of Planet Earth on the other. The same sets of words/phrases have been used through out the sloka for both, to stunning effect.

Consort of the Lord:Planet Earth:
You possess shining cheeks;You are furnished with shining hills;
and dense locks of hair;and dense, dark forests;
are beautiful-looking;with breath-taking scenery all around;
with mountain-like (big) breasts;with massive mountains resembling breasts
sporting a bright pearl pendant;with flowing waterfalls and streams;
are in the ripe middle-age of Your youth;(the landscape) naturally dark in complexion;
clad in an outfit replete with frills.sporting the ocean as the garment.

While studying the narration in consonance with the sloka, one is bound to have an extra-ordinary experience and a sense of amazement.

The penultimate verse, which in the form of a Dhyana sloka, has been set in the Saardhoola Vikreeditham, a majestic scale contrasting to the one employed through the hymn by the author which is the lilting Vasantha Lathika. Here, Sri Desika prays to Bhu Devi that She conferred all the auspices on him for ever. This, one may rest assured that our Acharya has done keeping all Her devotees in mind.

The Vedas proclaim that Bhu Devi, who is Consort of Vishnu, is the Goddess of the whole world (அஸ்யேசாநா ஜகதோ விஷ்ணுபத்நீ). She is the addressee of this sthothra, which has been composed with devotion by Venkatesa. As phala sruti, the author says that one who recites this hymn with dedication and devotion will derive all that he desires with immediate and permanent effect.

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Next in series: 20. Sri Godha Sthuthi, on November 25, 2007.

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