This book briefly presents the 28 stotras of Vedanta Desika ,with their meaning in English. As we all know Shri Desika is a veritable lion amongst the poets and logicians, a collosus in philosophy of Sri Vaishnavism and a prolific author in many languages. He has authored dramas, stotras, a philosophical play, morals, rahasya granthas. Many readers may recall the prophetic blessings lovingly given to Shri Desika by Vatsya Varadachariar. To recall briefly that episode -- Atreya Ramanuja popularly known as Appullaar was the maternal uncle of Vedanta Desika. One day Appullar took the small boy Oesika along with him when he went to the kalakshepam on Shree Bashyam by his Guru Shri Nadadoor Ammal alias Vaatsya Varadachariar. Looking at the bright intelligent young boy's face Nadadoor Ammal blessed him and said as follows:
“Pratisthaapita Vedaantah Prathikshipta Bahirmatah
Bhooyaah Thraividya Maanyah Thvam
Bhoori Kalyana Bhaajanam”
“You will establish Vedanta on a firm footing.
You will reject all other systems of thought.
You will be honoured by all who are proficient in Vedic lore.
You will be the repository of all good things in life”.
In this book I have presented the 28 stotras of Desika in Sanskrit and given the translation in English. To make the presentation holistic there is a brief introduction to each as a backdrop.
At this stage I would like to tread on your patience to tell you how this work came to be· printed with the English translation. I am basically an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist by profession and a humble fervent votary of Sanskrit I did not opt for Sanskrit as a student in school or college. To make up for it I became an adult literate. As I was' practising my profession, I had tuition in Sanskrit At that time it was my good fortune to be introduced to Shri S.S. Raghavan. He had a tremendous undying love for the language and the aspiring students.
Shri S.S. Raghavan was the son of Sri A. Srinivasa Iyengar. He was born on 1.08.1919 at Nachiyar Koil in Tanjore District. He was a Vyakarana Siromani of Sree Ubhaya Vedantha Vardhini Sanskrit College in Sriperumbudur (1930-40). He had his Vedantha Kalakshepam at Sree Parakala Mutt, Mysore. He had Samasrayanam done by Sri D.T. Thathacharya of Tirupathi and was initiated into Bharanyasam by the 33rd Pattam Parakataswami of Mysore. He worked in Rockhouse and Sons, College Book Publishers and later as proof reader in The Hindu between 1944-1979. I deem that it was God's grace that our paths crossed. He was a very good teacher and took it as a sacred mission to teach adults like me - - who are lovers of Sanskrit. Commencing from the alphabet, over a period spanning two and half decades, he made me enjoy reading Sanskrit books, dramas, Stotras, the Ramayana and Gita, portions of the Upanishads, Rahasyatraya Saram etc. It was my habit to interleave the books that I read with him so that I could then and there enter the meaning in English to peruse at will and understand later and to savour the grandeur of the language and the religious significance. For the last two years he was debilitated by a variety of illnesses. He would still come by a cycle rickshaw, later by auto and later by a car. We never missed a single class even' when he required a high powered light and a magnifying glass to read the words. His infectious enthusiasm and commitment towards the subjects and students remained undimmed over the years. He passed away in 1993. I feel I owe a duty to my illustrious teacher and desired to commomerate his memory in some way. It then occurred to me that the Desika Stotras which we studied in great detail could be published in a book form, dedicated to his memory with me as co- author. This is the genesis for the book -- the fruit of the many classes of what I learnt at the Guru padam.
I am sure the readers will pardon me for this diversion but will understand the personal feelings behind the book.
Meantime it has been my good fortune to have met Professor Narasimhachariar, Professor and Head of the Department of Vaishnavism, Madras University. Seeing my love for the Sanskrit language he very affectionately agreed to guide me through literary and devotional pieces. One day when I broached the idea of publishing Vedanta Desika's stotras in English as a tribute to the teacher, Prof. Narasimhachariar readily agreed to go through the English meaning even as a lapidary cuts and polishes precious stones and makes them sparkle and enhances their brilliance. In spite of his arduous duties, he has spared the time to pen a brief introduction to each stotra so that the book is self-contained and comprehensive - for the readers a “joy forever”. It is indeed a miracle that he found time for this. My special thanks go to this unstinting help.
I am a great believer in the unseen Hand of God and a Divine Sankalpa. Otherwise how else can I explain the readiness with which Shri Thirunavukkarasu of Vanathi Pathippagam reputed and renouned publishers of Tamil books readily agreeing to do this book which is basically an English/Sanskrit book. I am happy to state that Shri Thirunavukkarasu and his son Shri Ramanathan did a marvellous job in getting this book printed in record time. My special thanks to them.
I must also place on record my sincere thanks to Shri Ramji who provided excellent secretarial assistance for this book. His typing is neat and quick. I. must thank him for all the extra hours he put in, often sitting up late into the night to keep up to the schedule.
I wish to place on record my special thanks to Prof. Narasimhachari for the meticulous painstaking manner in which he willingly did an expert job of proof correction.
I will also be failing in my duty if I do not mention the loving help extended by Srimathi Kanakavalli Narasimhachariar. She is a Professor of Geography in Queen Mary's College. While the manuscripts were being corrected by him, she ensured that the Sanskrit slokas were entered correctly into their respective spaces left as gaps by Shri Ramji in the English manuscript.
My special affectionate thanks are due to my brother Shri M.S. Rajajee, my sisters Miss Revathy Sriram and Miss Ramesh, my sister-in-law Dr. Sarala Rajajee and my nephew Venkatakrishna for all the loving encouragement and help extended to me in getting this book published.
Thus a lot of loving help has gone into converting into reality this fond dream to bring out the book in memory of a great teacher, late Sri S.S. Raghavan. In brief, this is a humble Guru vandanam.
Sri Hayagriva Stotra
Sri Dasavatara Stotra
Sri Varadaraja Panchasat
Sri Vegasetu stotra
Sri Garuda Dandaka
Sri Garuda Panchasat
Sri Yathiraja Saptati
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