Let Us Invoke The Grace Of The God Of Knowledge
Knowledge is the fulcrum of all virtues and it elevates the state of human mind. It is such a unique element that if once possessed, no external force can do any damage to it. So, it is perceived as the foremost among all wealth, as the others are subject to possible destruction.
Legend has it that when there was a severe crisis to the survival of Vedas, Lord Vishnu took the form of Hayagriva, and restored the treasure and gave them to Brahma. With face that of a horse and human body, this incarnation possesses four hands, the right hands sporting the chakra and sign of wisdom (Jnana Mudhra) and the left holding the conch and book. He is seated on the white lotus with a crystal-like complexion and is an embodiment of knowledge and Pranava (Onkara) and an abode of unbridled compassion for His devotees.
Swami Desika worshipped Lord Hayagriva in his Nithya Aradhana (daily worship). That is why, an idol of Lord Hayagriva is also installed wherever Desika's is. So, it is in the fitness of things that Swami Desika composed his first hymn on Lord Hayagriva. Hayagriva (Haya translates to horse and Griva to neck, meaning the 'horse-necked’ or ‘horse-faced’) is considered as the 'God of Knowledge'.
The day of Hayagriva's incarnation is given as Aavani Sravanam (Thiruvonam). Little wonder that Sri Desika, who shares the Star with his favourite deity, himself is an epitome of resplendent knowledge.
Sri Hayagriva Jayanthi falls on September 9 (Friday) this year. Though many know Sri Hayagriva Sthothram by heart, reciting it with the knowledge of the meaning would enhance the devotional fervour and enrich the experience. Hence, I take the opportunity of presenting the meaning of the 33 effervescent Slokas of this hymn in this Note. As his wont, the Acharya has sprinkled a good measure of enjoyable similes and metaphors through the hymn.
- We worship Lord Hayagriva who is the epitome of knowledge and bliss, whose form is like an unblemished crystal and who is the source of all fields of learning.
- Let us extol the radiant horse-faced Lord who is self-manifest; who is like a mountain made of pristine crystal; who, with His nectar-like luster, brightens the three worlds; whose neighs sounding like ‘hala hala’ represent the infinite Upanishads, and capable of removing the difficulties of all (His devotees)!
- The ‘hala hala’ neighs of the horse-faced Lord are the essence of the Sama Veda, equivalent of the Rug Veda and a storehouse of the Yajur Veda; they are the annihilator of obstacles and rows of waves of ocean-like wisdom. May they dispel the ignorance created by the arguments of multitudes of arrogant debaters!
- May I envision the horse-faced form of Lord Vasudeva that is the wonderful eastern dawn to the internal darkness and magical collyrium to the eye of wisdom! He is the tutor of the Vedas and the God of learning.
- I surrender myself to Lord Hayagriva who is the embodiment of pure wisdom and who has taken a vow to bestow supreme wisdom (on His devotees). He is the repository of compassion and the refuge to all living beings.
- O Lord! Till date The extent of Your glory could not be measured till date even by the ageless Vedas. I, attempting to praise You, deserve to be considered by You as ‘ignorant’ and bestowed with Your graceful side-glances.
- Dakshinamurthy — the handsome, south-faced form of Siva, Goddess Saraswathi — the Consort of the lotus-seated Brahma and the highly-admirable Vyasa... all these and others have exalted status, courtesy the droplets of Your prowess.
- O Storehouse of all knowledge! If You had not, out of mercy, taught the Vedas stolen away by demons, Brahma would have remained ignorant, bereft of his fortune.
- O Lord! You removed doubts from the vacillating mind of Bruhaspathi and showed him the right way. That is why the polity of the Deva regime acquired solidity.
- (O Hayagriva!) You assume the form of Manthras in the burning fire and give away the extremely tasty oblations (Havis) to the Celestials who are pleased with that.
- People of pure serenity truly recognise You as the root-cause of the entire Universe, root of the large trees that the Vedas are and the inexhaustible Pranava — the foremost of alphabets.
- O Lord of Speech! First You brought out names and forms from the primordial matter. Also, You are the final destination of all these, praise the Vedas which were revealed by You.
- The wise men meditate upon Your form which is like the essence of the beautiful young moon, very much lovable, pours the nectar of bliss and a big splash of the Milky Ocean.
- You are like a royal swan in the pond-like minds of the learned men. To whosoever envisions You in his mind, words vie with each other to serve him appropriately.
- Those who contemplate You even for a fraction of a second as bright, inundating rays, will be capable of rendering even the Celestial Ganga slow by their strong flow of words.
- O Lord! Those blessed people who bathe in the nectar of contemplation on You, derive delightful horripilation all over their body.
- O Lord! The blessed ones who envision You like moon-rise in their mind, let out tears of unbridled joy that well up in their eyes.
- O Master! The wise men of unimpeded glory who subjugate their mind to You acquire mental strength. With the help of Your grace, they are able to cross this material world which, for You, is like a playing instrument and a charming bunch of peacock feathers.
- May my prostrations at Your lotus feet ever be increasing! They are really the desire-yielding Celestial Gem-stones (Chinthaamani)! They are the fruits of the good deeds done before and capable of securing for me the hitherto unrealizable treasure of salvation.
- O Master! Your lotus feet are capable of wiping off even the writing of fate and adorned by the crowns of Brahma and others. May I receive the grace of their dust particles in abundance!
- We contemplate on Your feet which by the sun-like radiance of the anklets dispel ignorance, and like the morning twilight sets in bloom the lotus of wisdom.
- We believe that the sweet-sounding, gem-studded anklets of Yours are fit to be adorned by Your devotees and are the safe-chests of the Vedas which are protected by You for numerous Kalpas.
- I contemplate on Your beautiful hand displaying the Vyakhyana Mudhra which kindles the lamps of philosophy in the wicks of wisdom, and resembling a sprout of the desire-yielding tree.
- O Master! I cherish in my mind Your right palm which holds a string of beads. For the enthusiastic devotees, it is like a sportive pulley to bring up the nectar of wisdom.
- O Lord! I contemplate on Your left hand which holds a book and is capable of protecting the devotees. With its red hues, it appears to hold a clutch of corals from the ocean of knowledge.
- I meditate upon Your divine figure which is akin to the moon in the autumnal cloud, seated in a fresh white lotus, removes the darkness of ignorance with bright rays and delights the Chakora birds (these birds feed on moon light and hence they are used as a metaphor for scholars).
- O Lord! May Your eye-glances which follow waves of compassion bestow on me power of speech which sprinkle nectar into the ears of people and stands like the celestial cow (Kamadhenu).
- O Master! I wish to conquer the best of poets and logicians who are competent and have participated in debates the assembly of learned men.
- O Lord! I contemplate on You through the rays of Manthras, become like You and extol You. May I rise as a victor in the assemblies after arguing at will!
- I do not possess great knowledge in various disciplines. Nor have I been blessed with sacred baths in the waters (contact of Acharyas). You are known for Your mercy in accepting destitute, and I have now become a subject of Your mercy. So I am fit for Your ready acceptance.
- May my mind be adorned with Your grace so that it shines resplendently with noble and unshakable truths devoid of murky doubts!
- May the Lord of speech of flawless glory and undiminishing brightness, who, in His (four) lotus-like hands, holds the Vyakhya Mudhra, a book and the Discus and Conch and seated in a beautiful white lotus, immerse me in His white, nectar-like luster, and manifest in my mind!
- Read with devotion this Hayagriva Sthothra composed by Sri Venkatanatha, who is a veritable lion among poets and logicians, to attain proficiency in speech and poesy!
Let us recite the hymn, contemplate the meaning and worship Lord Hayagriva to invoke His resplendent and bountiful grace!
Meet you in the next Note.
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