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DARSANAM

taic[mf
safvtaai, maci 2009
Sarvadhari, Masi 2009

Srinivasan, Davana Utsavam, C henga lpattu


Vedanta Desikan Sa nnidhi

Sravana Samithi, Muscat


Darsanam : 2 Sevai : 2
Muddirai of Parimuga Perumaal

A few weeks ago we were in T Nagar in one of the many jewellary shops that abound in
Usmaan road, to have a look at the Silver articles as the prices were “somewhat” in the
reasonable range. After checking the prices we were looking for the stamp of quality
“ISI” to ensure that we have some assurance as to the purity etc. When the shop
keeper could not show the stamp which is usually hidden illegibly at some corner which
only a trained eye can spot, we walked away from the shop. The cost of the article is
unimportant for this article, but the principle is as I will elaborate later. Human nature is
to get value for what we spend and we look for some independent assurance “Stamp or
Muddirai” to give us this comfort.
When it comes to our sampradayam and our grand lineage, it is adeyen’s humble view
that our Acharyan Swami Desikan’s Vaakku is
Deiva Vaakku and there is no need for any
separate assurance as to Its authensity. As Seva
Swami has told me on many occasions, Swami
Desikan has written what deserves to be learnt.
If there is anything that He has not written, it is
not worth the paper it is written. Readers would
recollect the words of the Achaarya when He
invokes Nara Hari and says that Thvayi
Rakshathi Rakshakai kim anya: ….. This is in
the same vein. Swami Desikan is regarded as
the bimbam (reflection without blemish) of Thiru
Venkatamudiyan, as Varadan, as Nrisimhan, as
Hayagreevan and therefore no doubt in the
minds of the followers of our sampradayam,
who regard His Paasurams and Strotramalaas,
Kavyams and Naatakams as equal to Draavida Samskrita Vedas. It is as though Swami
Desikan had to use all the forms of communication to expound the greatness of our
sampradayam and the essence of this aathma attaining moksha.
But Swami Desikan chose in His Apaara Karunai to add the stamp of Lord Hayagreevan
to provide assurance to us on the Saraanagathi Thaththuvam. Otherwise He would not
have mentioned that the great AdhikAra Sangraham was not His composition but

Darsanam, Masi 2009 2


that of Lord Hayagreevan. Adeyen belongs to the majority in our samapradayam that
Swami Desikan and Lakshmi Hayagreevan are one and the same and therefore we do
not need any assurance. But for the few remaining in our sampradayam who regard
him only as a great Acharya, Swami Desikan wanted to convey the message that the
Sarangathi thathathuvam as propounded by Lord Krishna in Dwapara yuga is reiterated
by Lord Hayagreevan. Not only that, I have a few other observations on the message of
Adhikara Sangraham that Swami Desikan has permitted in my anubhavam.
1. The Achaarya and Aazwaar paramparai is established beyond doubt or debate
2. The Upkaaram of Swami Ramanuja whose sampradaayam we belong to
3. The answer to the cycle of rebirth and death is reiterated by Lord Hayagreevan
However I noticed that Swami Desikan has not mentioned Aandaal in this prabanadam
and it made me wonder why? How can He forget as He is Gnana Swaroopi and Godha
to us is Bhoodevi who He himself had said so many times in Godha Stuti. It then
occurred to me (because of His Kataksham) that the prabandam is written by Lord
Hayagreevan and it was His thiru Ullam that Godha (who is personification of Kshama)
should be placed with the Lord Himself and therefore finds mention in the words
Innamuthath Thirumagal in the 3rd paasuram.

Vazga Pallandu Thoopul Pillai


Vazga Pallandu Nam Koorath Azwaan
Vazga Pallandu Nam Ramanujan
Adeyen nanganallur venkatesan

rsanaaM dun a-roXaanaaM vaNa-naap=\kdUiYatama\ .


Eau%yantdoiXakaodntsauQaaiBa: XaaoQayaamyahma\ .. 4
Gist : With the nectar of an account of Vedantadesika I
purify my tongue which has been soiled with dirty and
sticky mud i.e. praise of wicked kings.
By Venkatadwarin, born in the clan of Appular in 16 th
Century in Acharya Panchasat (a work about Swami
Desikan in 50 slokas)

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Name of the month : MASI (SARVADARI) 2009

Date Tamil Day Item Festival Special

13-02-09 1 FRI Masa pirappu Tarpanam

17-02-09 5 TUE Ashtaka Both the


days
18-02-09 6 WED Anvashtaka tarpanam
20-02-09 8 FRI Ekadasi Vratham
Paduka
21-02-09 9 SAT Dwadasi
Aradanam
Swami Desikan Monthly
23-02-09 11 MON Sravanam
Tirunakshatram
24-02-09 12 TUE Amavasai Tarpanam
Tirukkachi Nambigal 1000th
05-03-09 21 THU Mrgaseersham
Tirunakshatram
Bhashyakarar Monthly
06-03-09 22 FRI Tiruvadirai
Tirunakshatram
Kulasekhara Alwar
07-03-09 23 SAT Punarvasu
Tirunakshatram
09-03-09 25 MON Masi Magam Samudra Snanam
Tirumalai Andan & Manakkal
10-03-09 26 TUE Magam
Nambi Tirunakshatram
Tiruvahindrapuram
11-03-09 27 WED Masi Magam Devanathaswami Samudra
snanam
Panguni
14-03-09 SAT Masa Pirappu Tarpanam
1

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KING NABHAGA
(Smt. Suchitra Rajan, Andavan Thiruvadi)
The seventh Manu of this world called Vaivasvata Manu had a son called
Nabhaga. Nabhaga had a son who was also called as Nabhaga, who lived with his
Spiritual Master (Acharyan) for a long time. Due to this reason, his brothers thought
that Nabhaga would not come back to the kingdom and assumed that Nabhaga had
accepted the vow of life long brahmacharya and divided the property of their father
among themselves, without keeping any share for Nabhaga.
One day Nabhaga returned home from the Ashram of his master and enquired,
“My dear brothers, what have you kept as my share of our father’s property?’ . The
brothers were shocked to see
Nabhaga back and managed to
reply as,”We have reserved our
father himself as your rightful
share.”
Nabhaga went to his father
and said, “My elder brothers have
given you as my share of the
inheritance.”
The father replied, “My dear
son, do not accept what your
brothers have said. They have
cheated you, for I cannot be your property. Now please listen to me carefully and
attentively. The descendents of Angira are about to perform a great sacrifice. They are
very intelligent. but, on every sixth day they will become confused and lose their control
and thus make mistakes while performing their duties. You should go to them and
describe two Vedic mantras with reference to (pertaining to) Vaishvadeva. In this way,
the great sages will become pleased with you, so that at the completion of the sacrifice,
whey they are departing for the heavenly planets, they will give you whatever wealth
they had received as reward for their service (remuneration).”

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Nabhaga acted according to his father’s advice, and as a result, the great rishis
of the Angira dynasty gave him all of the wealth they had received as priestly
remuneration before departing for the heavenly planets. At that time, a very black-
complexioned person from the north came to Nabhaga and said, “All of the wealth from
this sacrificial arena (area or place) belongs to me.”
Nabhaga replied, “These riches were given to me by the descendents of Angira,
and so they are mine.”
The black- complexioned person then suggested,”Let us go to your father and
ask him to settle our disagreement.”
In this way, the matter was placed before the father, who then decided,”
Whatever the great sages had offered in sacrifice was intended for Lord Shiva.
Therefore, everything in the sacrificial arena certainly belongs to him.”
Accepting the words of his father, Nabhaga offered his obeisances (respect or
pranaam) to Lord Shiva and then said, “O worshipable Lord ! everything is yours. I bow
my head before you with great respect and beg for your mercy.”
Lord Shiva replied, Whatever your father has said is correct. However, since you
have cheerfully accepted his verdict, I will allow you to take all of the wealth that was
left aside by the brahmanas.”
After saying this, Lord Shiva
, who had come just to test
Nabhaga, disappeared from that
place. Nabhaga then later became
an great devotee of the Supreme
Lord SRIMAN NARAYANAN and
came to know as MAHARAJA
AMBARISHA. (to be continued…)
So far from this story, we
understand that we should listen
and respect the words of our
parents and elders without fail. We
cannot see the Lord in front of our eyes but we can see our parents. We can learn to
look at the Lord through our parents words and respecting them. All glories to the
Achariyan and the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayanan.

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Prefactory to & Quintessence of
By Paadukaa Sevaka, Paale A.P. Bhashyam Iyengar (of Chaturbhuja Raman Temple at
Ponpathir koottam)
Sri D.R Swamiyin Paadha DhooLi (The dust of Sri D.R swami’s Holy Feet)
Humble Prostrations to Acharyas, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and Goddess Andal !
Prologue to Thiruppavai
The Eternally wakeful is awakened and the Primordial teacher is taught. These are the
feats which the “Girl God Goda” performs in Her
best song Thiruppavai. Though She has sung 143
other stanzas, it is by these 30 Thiruppavai verses
only that she is most widely known. In fact, one
month, the Marghazhi (Dec-Jan) month has been
set apart by the Sri Vaishnavaite servants of Yore,
for the enjoyment of this great work of religious
art, Thiruppavai recitations in the Temples,
Thiruppavai Bhajans in the streets and Thiruppavai
lectures in societies and meeting places, that is the
importance Thiruppavai has always received and
still continues to receive in a large measure during
the Marghazhi month. It does not belong to a
particular sect (Sri vaishnavaites) alone. It speaks
about Lord Krishna only. It can also be called as
“Mini Dasama Skandam” (Tenth skandam) of
Srimad Bhagavatham. Just as Ramayana, Maha
Bharata & Srimad Bhagavatha are universal and
belong to the entire humanity, Thiruppavai also
belong to the entire humanity.
The Great Sri Vaishnavaite Acharyas from Sri Ramanuja downwards have all without
exception, given expression to their fascination for this poem. Just as the head is the
main portion of the body, for the Vedas(Veda Purusha), Upanishads are claimed to be
the head portion-“Shiro bhaagam”. The 4000 verses of the Azhwars have been claimed

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as Tamil veda. For this Tamil veda (4000 Divya Prabhandam) Thiruppavai is said to be
the “Shiro bhaagam”, head portion, or Tamil Upanishad.
Sanskrit Vedas praised Lord Narayana and His traits.
That same Narayana has taken the form of idol (Archa)
and has settled in the Temples, solely for our worship
and delectation. Hence Lord Narayana and the idols
(Archas) are one and the same. In the Tamil language,
the 4000 verses are Vedas, and this Thiruppavai among
them, is the vedantha or Upanishad. Its spiritual value is
supreme and its poetical value is very high. As a human
document, its value is as immense as it is eternal.
A very brilliant moon-lit night. The scene is laid in
Gokulam, the land of cows, cow-herds and Sri Krishna.
The full moon is well up in the sky, the hour being about 9 P.M. In the village common
(Paavai KaLam) are gathered a large number of dainty damsels, all of them in their
teens, each dressed and bedecked to perfection. The varying hues and tints of their
colourful dresses, seem to paint the very moonlight. Each face is a glow with an
amount of suppressed excitement and anticipatory joy.
For, they have all been
just released from the
dungeons of their
respective houses,
wherein they were
interned for several weeks
by their elders. Those
elders in their wisdom
thought, the punishment
was necessary, to cure
their girls of their longing
for Sri Krishna’s company,
a longing which promised
to become an incurable
disease. And so, the
young hearts pined away in solitude and desolation and every moment tearful and
frantic prayers were being wafted up over the air in all the metrebands. And the Girl’s
messages were duly picked up by the boy Sri Krishna who wanted to teach a lesson or
two, soon manoeured the release of the girls. He first saw to it that the monsoon failed

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and the land became dry. How can the land of cows thrive, if there is no grass and no
water? There was threat of impending famine. The wiseacres of Gokulam met in
conclave and decided, that the rain-inviting Kathyayanee Vratham should at once be
observed. That was to be done only by maidens, those very girls whom they had
thrown in the dungeons. The Vratham or Nonbu as it is called in Tamil, required a boy,
to be the master of ceremonies, to help the girls. To their Chagrin, the old men found
that, to officiate as such master of ceremonies, there was no one but Krishna, fit, able
and willing. So they ate the humble pie and released the girls, and asked them to put
themselves in touch with Sri Krishna and observe the Nonbu, in the right orthodox
style.
And so, here are the girls in high glee, their faces beaming with joy at the unexpected
reunion with the Krishna of their hearts. As is not unusual with the gathering of ladies,
there is a confused Babel of voices, each girl in the fullness of her excitement talking
about, as to how to set about the pleasant task of repairing to Krishna’s place, and
obtaining from Him all that they and their elders want from Him.
Then spoke the leader among them, she, to whom the rest of them always turned for
advice, guidance and support. Tall, graceful and exceedingly attractive, she looked
round with her dark bright eyes (as dark and bright as Sri Krishna Himself) and lifting
up the palm of her soft little hand to enjoin silence, began to deliver herself in rich and
beautiful voice. And what she then said is, the first stanza
of Thiruppavai. (Maargazhi ThingaL)
Now, let us know the songstress- that divine Poetess,
whose great gift to us is this masterpiece of all literatures,
Thiruppavai. The Vratham or Nonbu set out above, has
been talked about in some of the Puranas and elsewhere
too. But, it was Andal (Sri Goda) that elevated it to the
level of a magnificent epic. This Divine Girl was the foster
daughter of Sri Vishnu Chiththa, better known as
Periazhwar of SriVillipuththur. She was God-mad from her
infancy (a rare malady) and made up her mind to marry
God, and none but God. She is nevertheless a Historical
Person. Her life story, even like Sri Krishna Charithra, has
a sweetness all its own. And it lives and lingers in the
mind, a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.
Her God love was so compelling, that even from His Archa
or Idol Forms in Temples, God was forced to come out and
acknowledge her love. The local (Sri Villiputhur) God

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(Vatapathra sayee) expressed a desire to wear, only the flower garland which were
previously worn by Goda. Her first offering to God was flower Garland (Poomaalai),
which was made long before she offered her Lyrical garland (Paamaalai). Then, the
great Sri Ranganatha of Sri Rangam-even that Lord of infinite repose, had to break the
barriers of idolism and marry her, as she desired, in the form of young bride-groom. It
is in that Form, He is now seen in Srivilliputhur, as Rangamannar, bereft of His Divine
symbols- the Shankha and Chakra. Such was the greatness and strength of the divine
love of our songstress, Sri Andal. Her Poem, this Thiruppavai is but the ecstatic
outpouring of that Sweet Heart, of that sweet heart of God, in one of her wonderful
moods of divine rapture. Having heard of, and read the story of, how the Gopis
observed the Kathyayanee Vratham, Andal at once took it
up as a fit subject for her contemplation and enjoyment.
She mentally pictures to herself everything about it, in
such minute detail, that she literally turns into a Gopi
Herself. The idea grows and grows. The mind gets
infactuated with it, and lives and enjoys it. The enjoyment
exceeds the bounds of the minds and the heart, and
breaks out into lyrical rhapsody and that is Thiruppavai. It
is not a poem of the pen, but a song of the heart.
Everyone can hear, nay see it. It is not as if the
Thiruppavai songs are to be recited, only during the
month of Margazhi. It is a mistaken impression. It is not
so. The Thiruppavai songs are to be recited daily. If one
were to recite them with deep devotion, ferver and
rapture, and with all sincerity, the Lord will surely lift him
up from the Samsara Sagara and take him to His Abode.
i.e Sri Vaikunta, bound by His fascination for Sri Andal and
Her Thiruppavai.
This is written through this humble self by Sri Andal
Herself, for Her delectation.
May the choicest blessings of Goddess Sri Andal and Lord Sri Krishna be on us all.
All Glory to Andal! All Glory to Sri Krishna!
Sarvam Krishnaarpanamasthu !
Sarvam Sri Padhukaarpanamasthu !
Courtesy: Paaduka seva, paalee A.P.Bashyam Iyengar
(Sri D.R.Swamy Paada Dhooli)

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Sri. M.K. Sudarsan, Kuwait (Son of Smt. Mani Krishnaswami)

Introduction :
Seven hundred and thirty-four years ago, in the year 1268 CE, on this day, Swami
Desikan was born as Venkatanathan to his parents, Anantha Suri and TotAmba, in a
small village called Thuppul on the outskirts of the famous town of Kanchi.
Today we in Kuwait are gathered here this evening to celebrate the memory of
Swami Vedanta Desikan on his 'tirunakshtram' and to offer him our obeisance. We may
ask ourselves, "Why are we doing this?", and the answer is: If only we knew enough
about this great soul, his life, personality and his works, we would realize it is important
to commemorate him not only once every year on his 'tirunakshatram' but every day of
our lives.
How should we know him?
One of the easiest ways to get to know about
the life and work of SvAmi Venkatanathan is
through the prefatory verse, called 'tanian',
with which you are all familiar. We recite it at
the beginning of all his works. And also
through the colophon recited at the end viz.:
srimAn venkata nAThArya kavitArkika kEsari
vEdAntAchArya varyOmE sannidhatAm
sadAhrudi

kavitArkika simhAya kalyANa guNashAlinE


srimathE venkateshEyA vEdAnta guravE
namaha
S wami Desikan, Parakala Mutt,
Toopul
In the first verse we say, "May Venkatanathan
ever reside in our hearts" ("venkata nathArya
... sannidhatAm sadAhrudi"). And through the second, we say, "Our obeisance to

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Venkatanathan" ("venkatEshAya... namaha"). Now, why do we express such sentiments
of deep reverence to Swami Venkatanathan? Is it because he was:
(1) a "kavi-kEsari" -- a glorious poet?
(2) a "tArkika-simham" -- a lion amongst philosophers?
(3) a "kalyANa guNa shAlin" -- a person of rare and sublime human qualities?
(4) a "vEdAntAchAryA" or "vEdAnta-guru" -- a preceptor or guru who showed
The Way, the "Art of Living", to followers not only of his times but to posterity as
well?
The answer is: The memory of Swami Venkatanathan deserves to be remembered for
all 4 reasons above but especially for the last mentioned i.e. as a Vedantic 'guru' he
showed us how we must live out the time given to us on earth and the purpose to be
achieved.
Let us begin however with the first of the 4 reasons:
As a "kavi-kesari", a poet in many
languages, Venkatanathan was peerless in
his times and after. Before him, the only
poet of perhaps equal stature, in terms of
both quality and output, was the legendary
KalidAsa. To this day scholars find it
impossible to adequately describe the
range and power of his poetic prowess.
Desikan wrote extensively in
Sanskrit and Tamil and to a lesser extent
in PrAkrut and ManipravAlam. His
collection of Tamil poetry is known today
as 'dEsika-prabhandham' and enjoys a
status equal to that of the inspired
outpourings of the mystic AzhwArs.
In Sanskrit, he composed well over 2000 stanzas of exquisite Sanskrit poetry
on a variety of religious themes but mostly in praise of Deities of famous temple-towns
like SriRangam, Tiruvengadam, Kanchi and a host of others. His poetry flowed in a
dazzling variety of forms such as short couplets and long quatrains, 'stOtra', 'gadyam',
'dandakam', all in every known metric rhythm possible -- from the simple 'mAlini' metre
to the long-winded 'sArdUlavikreedita'. In his famous work praising the Lord at

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Tiruvengadam, titled 'dayA -satakam', Desikan composed 108 stanzas in 10 different
metres each being most appropriate to the underlying theme of the verse.
Desikan's poetic inspiration was pure magic and almost superhuman in genius.
One evening in SriRangam, where Desikan lived and worked several years, a rival poet
contemptuously challenged him to compose poetry on the most shabby and un-poetic
of themes on earth -- a pair of common footwear! Next morning Desikan astounded the
rival, and the rest of the world too, with a poetic work of 1000 stanzas entitled
"PadukA-sahasram"! One thousand stanzas in Sanskrit of the highest order, in praise of
the sacred Sandals of Lord Ranganatha, the Deity of the temple! Written in one sitting
within the course of one night!
Desikan was hailed "kavi-kEsari" also because he was an acknowledged master
of phonetics and linguistics. He could create beautiful sounds out of words. He could
also weave, with equal ease and felicity, meaningful words out of pure sound.
As an example of the first case, we can turn to 2 particular verses in the
'stotra' of "kAmAsikAshtakam" where Desikan evokes the fearsome, awe-inspiring
image of "jvAla-nrsimha", the man-lion 'avatAr' of NarayAnA. In these 2 stanzas,
composed as they are of hard syllables and harsh,
guttural-sounding consonants, the words are made
to sound like the roars of an angry lion. Listen to
the following:
vikasvara nakha svaru xata hiraNya vaxaH sthalii
nirargala vinirgalad.h R^idhira sindhu
sandhyaayitaaH.
avantu madanaasikaa manuja pa~ncha vaktrasya
maam.h
aham.h prathamikaa mithaH prakaTitaahavaa
baahavaH.. 6

saTaa paTala bhiiShaNe sarabha saaTTaa haasodbhaTe


sphurat.h kR^idhi parisphuTad.h bhR^ikuTike.api vaktre kR^ite.
kR^ipaa kapaTa kesarin.h danuja Dimbha datta stanaa
saroja sadR^ishaa dR^ishaa vyativiShajya te vyajyate.. 7
If the above verses show us how words use pure sound to create images, in
the 'pAdukA-sahasram' Desikan demonstrates how the reverse effect can also be

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achieved with equally telling effect – where meaningful words are woven out of pure
sound:
pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA
pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA
pAdapa pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA
pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA pAdapA (939 Paduka-Sahasram)
Now if any poet of lesser stature than Swami Desikan were to pen lines like the
above, and try and pass it off as poetry, it is likely he will be taken to be a raving
lunatic. But Desikan's genius shows us how even seemingly senseless sound can be
made to contain lofty poetic meaning. The above stanza when read as follows:
pAdapA-apAdapA-aapAda-pApA-dapA, pAdapA, pAda-pApA-dapA-apAdapA
pAda,pApAda, pApAda-pApAda-pApAda, pApAdapApA-adapApAdapA
yields the following meaning in very rough English translation:
"The pAdukAs of Lord of SriRangam
-- render sinless all things and all
beings of this world
-- protect all beings in this world
and the other
-- reward all men who do their
bounden duty by their parents and
punishes
those that fail in it
-- elevates the devotees of God in the eyes of all the worlds
-- maintains eternal order in both heavenly and earthly spheres".
No wonder indeed, it was then as it remains today, that Swami Desikan
was hailed by one and all as "kavi-kEsari".
(to be continued)
dAsan,
Sudarshan

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This stotram has a historical background. The great centre of Sri Vaishnavism
Srirangam had fallen into the hands of the Muslim invaders led by Malik Kafur in the
14th Century A.D. Before that, the shrine of Lord Ranganatha had been closed after
secretly sealing the sanctum sanctorum, and the utsava-murti removed to places of
safety by the pious
people of the place.
Several great acharyas
lost their lives, and
several others,
Vedanta Desika among
them, ran away from
the place in fear and
panic. Desika stayed at
Satyamangalam near
Kollegal now in Mysore
State. It is from there
he sang this stotra in
praise of Lord
Ranganatha, praying to
Him to banish their fear and return to His abode. Sloka 20 voices the prayer to banish
fear in Srirangam and restore it to its former glory, and sloka 22 prays to the Lord to
wield His weapons and remove their fear caused by the Muslims and the Yavanas
(other foreigners). The Stotra refers to the Lord's five weapons (panchayudhas), which
He always holds in His hands for our protection, in four places 11, 21, 22 and 23. Fear
and/or freedom from fear figure in nearly half the total number of slokas of this
stotram. Sloka 19 refers by name to eight staunch devotees of the Lord who obtained
complete freedom from fear by taking refuge at the Lord's feet and prays for a similar
benefit and blessing for all of us. A paaraayanam of this stotram has been prescribed by
elders for securing freedom from fear of any sort.
(All stotras will be published here in alphabetical order).
Courtesy : www.ramanuja.org

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