Sunday, April 29, 2007

NYASA TILAKAM OF VEDANTA DESIKA

NYASA TILAKAM OF VEDANTA DESIKA
commentary by
SRI D.RAMASWAMY IYENGAR

ஸ்ரீமதே நிகமாந்த மஹா தேசிகாய நம:

श्रिमान् वॆङ्कदनाथार्य कविथार्किक कॆसरि
वॆदान्हाचार्यवर्यॊ मॆ शन्निधत्तां सदा ह्रुथि
ஸ்ரீமான் வேங்கடநாதார்ய கவிதார்கிக கேசரி
வேதாந்தாசார்ய வர்யோ மே சந்நிதத்தாம் ஸதா ஹ்ருதி

We utter the word நம: (Namaha) (in the Vedic manner) i.e., as we recite the Veda, in respect of our own Acharyas and their Acharyas. And therein, i.e., in the Guruparampara, we also worship and choose as our protector the Divine Couple, the Rulers of the worlds who are first and foremost among them, the Acharyas.

Introductory: Nyasa Tilakam is at once a treatise on Nyasa or Prapatti, and a stotra (hymn) in praise of Lord Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam. As a treatise on Nyasa it is supplementary and complimentary to the other stotras on the same topic, like Nyasa Dasakam, Nyasa Vimsati, Saranagati Deepika etc. As a stotra of Lord Ranganatha this is in addition to Bhagavat-dhyana-sopanam and Abheeti-stava, two other hymns in praise of the same Lord. It contains 32 slokas, 32 being a very favourite number with Swami Desika, probably because it is the number of the Brahma-Vidyas to be culled from the Upanishads. Nyasa being one of them. The slokas of this stotra are in various metres, starting from Anushtup of 8 syllables to aquarter, and going up to Sraghdhara of 21 syllables.

The name Nyasa Tilaka is given to this stotra by Desika himself (sloka 32). It is an indication that thepoet himself regards this as a master-treatise on Nyasa. Tilakam is a shining jewel worn on the face. It lends beauty and lustre to the face. Sri Vaishnavites wear this tilaka as an oordhva-pundra (vertical pundra) Lord Ranganatha and all the Emperumans in Srivaishnavite shrines wear ஊர்த்வ புண்ட்ர திலகம். Parasara Bhattar sings of கஸ்தூரி கவித ஊர்த்வ புண்ட்ர திலகம் on Sri Ranganatha's face. His great father Koorathalwan asks Lord Varadaraja of Kanchi if He wears the ஊர்த்வ புண்ட்ர திலகம் out of His regard for it as it signifies the power to uplift devotees. The importance of this stotra is further enhanced by the fact that Swamy Desika's illustrious son, Kumara Varadacharya, has furnished this stotra alone (out of the 28) with a commentary.

It is therefore up to us all to study this stotra in all reverance and respect in addition of course to enjoying its poetic, philosophic and mystic beauties.

SLOKA 1
गुरुभ्यस्तद्जुरुभ्यच्च नमॊवाकमधीमहॆ
वृणिमहॆ च तत्त्राध्यौ द्म्पती जगतां पती

To be continued