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Desika Darsanam - 8. Sri Saranagati Dipika
Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar, Chennai.

Desika Darsanam A momentous hymn of 59 slokas extensively dealing with the importance of Prapathi. Singing the praise of Deepa Prakasa (Vilakkoli Emperuman), this sthothra has aptly been named by Swami Desika himself as Saranagathi Deepika. Just as the light from a lamp obliterates the darkness around, this sthothra is a virtual torch that wipes out the obscurity in our minds and shows us the Saranagathi way.

This is a perfect case of the subject and the object being made for each other and our Acharya, a master composer, is not one to miss out on that. The metaphorical treatment to the title in itself lends an aesthetic poetic touch. Here, the deepika (figurative lamp) is connected to Saranagathi while the Lord of the Light is waiting in all His compassion for the deliverance of the devotees.

The name of the Divyadesam is Thiru-Thanka (came to be known as Thooppul), a part of Kancheepuram, which has the privilege of being the Avathara Sthalam (native place) of our great Acharya. So, this is a salutation by Swami Desika to the Lord next door, really.

The temple is situated close by the river Vegavathi. Mahalakshmi is known to have manifested from a pond here called ‘Lakshmi Saras’, assumed the name ‘Maragathavalli’ and secured the company of Lord Deepa Prakasa.

In the opening verse, the author says that though coming through his words in this hymn, the great tradition of Saranagathi has been handed down to us from none other than Sri Ramanuja through his intimate disciple and cook Madaippalli Aachaan. Hence it is called the ‘Madaippalli Sampradayam’. An interesting parallel to this can be drawn in Swami Desika’s Tamil Prabandham ‘Paramapadha Sopaanam’, also in the first verse.

" எதிவரனார் மடைப்பள்ளி வந்த மணம் எங்கள் வார்த்தையுள் மன்னியதே!"

After narrating beautifully the manifestation of Piraatti in Sloka No. 4, the author, through the work, throws light on many a crucial issue entwining various aspects of Saranagathi, the means of deliverance. Enlisted below are some of the most important ones, with the sloka numbers in parentheses:

This classic work composed on Deepa Prakasa enlightening about the Lord’s identity, His demeanor, the means of deliverance called Saranagathi, its supremacy, the post-Prapathi life of a prapanna, etc., is an essential lesson for everyone. Reciting this will no doubt destroy the dense darkness of ignorance in the minds of the people and bestow them with the feet of the Lord.

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Next in series: 9. Sri Vegasethu Sthothram, on June 24, 2007.

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