Swami Desika’s Decad On Surrender Unto Lord Arulaala
Swami Desika, the principal torchbearer of the Visishtaadvaita philosophy founded by Bhagavath Ramanuja, has authored several treatises and hymns highlighting the vitality of the Doctrine of Surrender. The most familiar among them are the Sanskrit hymn Nyasa Dasakam and Tamil Prabandham Adikkala-Paththu — both on Lord Varadaraja.
The latter is especially relevant now as Anadhyayanam has recently begun. Adikkala-Paththu enjoys the pride of place among the Desika Prabandhams just as Pallaandu among the Divya Prabandham in the sense that they are the respective leads. So, during the period of Anandhyayanam when the Divya Prabandham is not recited, the Desika Prabandham recitation invariably begins with Adikkala-Paththu.
It may be noted that in five (1, 2, 7, 8 & 11) of the 11 Paasurams therein, Swami Desika refers to Lord Varadaraja as ‘Arulaala’ which is a rough translation. The other references are Arul Varadar (6 & 10), Sindhura Verpu Iraiyavanaar (3), Naagamalai Naayakanaar (4), Madhil Kachchi Nagar Karunai Nathan (5) and Paraman (9).
Let us now take a look at the meaning of the verses:
|1.||பத்தி முதலாம் அவற்றில்...|
Unable to attain the Lord through Bhakthi Yoga, I came rushing to ThirukKachchi, the principal city among the Sacred Seven, to surrender unto Lord Arulaala of Hasthigiri, much like the tired Kakasura did after crisscrossing all directions.
|2.||சடைமுடியன் சதுர்முகன் என்று...|
Having seen that the goodness of those like Siva and Brahma vanish owing to their Karma, I attained the twin feet of Lord Arulaala of Hastghigiri who is inseparable from the fragrant-lotus dame, and whose abode is ThirukKachchi.
The Lord of Hasthigiri bestows his blessing on all those who attain His feet having distinguished between Bhakthi Yoga and Prapaththi Yoga and pursued the latter without taking recourse to other means, faithfully follow the directives of the Saasthras, worship Him with the Veda manthras and other scriptures of Acharyas. I know none other than His great qualities.
|4.||காகம் இராக்கதன் மன்னர்...|
I attained the great feet of the Lord of Hasthigiri with the knowledge that He fittingly granted worldly pleasure and Moksha, as the case may be, to Kakasura, Vibheeshana, Draupadhi, Kshathrbandhu, Gajendra, Siva, Brahma, the Devas, et al.
|5.||உகக்கும் அவை உகந்து...|
With no refuge in the world and no means to adopt, I surrendered unto the Lord of ThirukKachchi by practicing the five limbs of Prapaththi, which are: Doing what would please Him (Aanukoolya Sankalpam); Not doing what would displease Him (Praathikoolya Varjanam); Placing unswerving faith in His grace (Maha Viswaasam); Realising my incapacity to do anything without his grace (Kaarpanyam); Explicitly seeking the Lord’s mercy in granting Moksha (Gopthruthva Varanam).
I attained the twin feet of the majestic Lord Arulaala who gruarantees Moksha by showing His Abhaya Hastham (implying worry not) to anyone who uttered even once that ‘I attain Your feet’ and grants all His wealth and even Himself to that Prapanna.
|7.||உமதடிகள் அடைகின்றேன் என்று...|
I placed myself at the disposal of the fragrant-Thulasi Lord Varada, who is the saviour of all those who attained Him (a) with clear knowledge of Prapaththi (Swa Nishtai); (b) by chanting the procedure of Prapaththi (Ukthi Nishtai); (c) going by the grace of the Acharya (Acharya Nishtai); (d) being part of the Prapaththi performed by noble Bhagavathas (Bhagavatha Nishtai).
I will not forget the words (Charama Sloka, etc.) of the great Lord Arulaala in order that I never lose faith in Him, am always full of knowledge and devotion, do not lose track of the truth and relish in that, do not lose the sense of helplessness, hold the breath till the time of Moksha and stay relieved of the distress of Samsara.
|9.||சுருதி நினைவு இவையறியும்...|
I surrendered unto the feet of the Lord who has Soorya and Chandra as His eyes through the strength of the words of the Azhwars who mastered the Vedas and Sasthras, the great works of illustrious Acharyas like Sri Bhasyakara and the clear knowledge obtained from those great works overcoming ignorance.
I firmly entrenched myself at the solid feet of Lord Varada who has His Consort alongside, has divine form, bestows great grace, is personification of knowledge, is easy to access for devotees, offers immeasurable protection and indulges in the act of creation, protection and destruction.
These 10 Paasurams composed on the twin feet of Lord Arulaala are blemishless. These are noble verses for the benefit of those devotees who have no means and refuge other than Him, on the doctrine of Prapaththi and its fruits and the procedures involved therein.
Meet you in the next Note.
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