When adiyEn browsed through the Text of Sudarshana Kavacham, adiyEn was thinking about why Swamy Desikan composed Sri SudarsanAshtakam and ShOdasAyudha SthOthram for our benefit.
At this time, the SathAbhishEkam Malar of Poundarikapuram Andavan, HH PravAkkOttai GopAla Desika MahA Desikan arrived in the mail. As adiyEn opened it,the first article that I came across was the one entitled “Sudarsana Mahimai” by GhOstipuram Sri RaamAnujAchArya Swamy. A flood of memory overtook me from boyhood to school days in Thirukkudanthai, when adiyEn used to attend the uthsavams of Sri Vijayavalli samEtha Sri ChakrapANi PerumAL at Thirukkudanthai (KumbakONam). Sevai of that Uthsava Moorthy on top of a small hillock at the end of big street in Thirukkudanthai came flooding in the memory channels. Our Sri Sampath Rengarajan, a native of Thirukkudanthia is more familiar with the temple history and Sthala PurANam. Sriman Murali Rangaswamy has also written earlier about the Sudarsana Narasimha Moortham and its significance.
adiyEn wants to take this opportunity to reminisce about the Vaibhavam of Sri Sudarsana BhagavAn, who is also revered as HEthi Raajan, RaTAngadhuryan, Para: PumAn, ChakriNa: param Chakram, HEthIsvaran, PraharaNa Indhrasya Prabhu and Aayudha Indhran by Swamy Desikan.
My grand father was a Sudarsana UpAsakar. adiyEn could see the power of Sudarsana Manthra Japam in him. At Sudarsana Homams, adiyEn has seen the aavirbhAvam (Appearance) of Sudrsana Chakram in the Yaj~na KunDa Agni (sacred fire of the Homam). This is very similar to the aavirbhAvam of Sri Nrusimhan in unique Yaj~nams conducted by Vaikunta Vaasi U. Ve. SalakshaNa GanapADi, MukkUr Lakshmi NrusimhAcchAr of sacred memory.
With all these as background, adiyen thought it would be good to post a few articles on the Mahimai of Lord Sudarsanan and His importance in Sri VaishNava sampradhAyam as attested by the many salutations to Him in SthOthrams like Sudarsana sathakam, Sudarsana Ashtakam, ShOdasAyudha Sthothram and in many Paasurams of the AzhwArs.
adiyen will focus first on the summary of the essay by Sri GhOshtipuram RaamAnujAcchAr Swamy in this first article which describes His Mahimai through an attempt to answer the following FIVE questions:
1) Who is referred to by the name “Sudarsanan”?
2) What is the meaning of the “Sudarsana” Naamam?
3) What are the benefits to us by understanding the glories of Lord Sudarsanan?
4) Is it sufficient to know about His Mahimai? Must we do some thing in addition?
5) If there are some anushtAnams, how many kinds are there? Is it confined to one or more?
adiyEn will continue with the answers to these questions given by GhOshtipuram Swamy.
Before concluding this first posting, adiyEn thinks with reverence of Thirumazhisai AzhwAr, who is the amsam of Sudarsana BhagavAn and seeks His anugraham to write about Sri Sudarsana BhagavAn. He spent His last days at Thirukkudanthai and had His nithyAnushtAnam at Cauvery river, which is not too far from Thirukkudanthai ChakrapANi Sannidhi (Sudarsanar Sannidhi) and devoted His life to the worship of Lord Saaranga PaaNi (AarAvamudhan). His life could be visualized as a shuttle journey between the two temples. This great AzhwAr, who established unconditionally the Supremacy of Sriman NaarAyaNan in His Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAdhi has saluted Sri Sudarsana Bhagavan in his paasurams. adiyEn will try to cover these AzhwAr Salutaions to Sudarsanar in subsequent postings.
The six Questions posed by Sri GhOshtipuram RaamAnujAchArya Swamy and his responses to them are summarized below with some additional comments:
The First Question:
1) Who is referred to by the name “Sudarsanan”?
Swamy Desikan gives the answer to this question in the very first slOkam of Sri ShOdasAyudha SthOthram:
jushta: shOdasibhir-dhivyair-jushathAm Va: PARA: PUMAAN
Meaning: May the Lord of weapons of Sriman NaarAyaNan, (i-e) Sudarsana BhagavAn confer auspiciousness on You all. He is the one worshipped by the sixteen divine weapons, which stand as the small portions of the Lord’s Sankalpam. Sudarsana BhagavAn is the Parama Purushan worshipped by these Sixteen powerful weapons, which are yEkadEsa-thulya bhAgams of Sriman NaarAyaNan’s Sva-Sankalpam.
The second and the 18th slOkams of Swamy Desikan’s ShOdasAyudha SthOthram throw additional light on the Tathtvam standing behind Sri Sudarsana BhagavAN:
YadhAyattham jagacchakram Kaalachakram cha Saasvatham
Paathu vasthath PARAM CHAKRAM Chakraroopasya ChakriNa:
Meaning: May the ChakrAyudham (one of the sixteen divine weapons) adorning the hands of ChaakratthAzhwAn protect you all! The universe is rotating eternally driven by the tatthvam of Kaalam (Second-minute-hour-day-month-year). This Kaala Tatthavm is under the control of the ChakrAyudham, which is the chief among the weapons of the Lord. He (The Lord) Himself takes on the form of this Chakram (Sudarsana Roopam).
asthra-grAmasya kruthsnasya prasUthim yam prachakshathE
sOavyAth SudarsanO Visvam Aayudhai: ShOdasAyudha:
Meaning: May Lord Sudarsanan adorning all the sixteen divine weapons protect the entire universe with them! He is indeed the origin of all the assembly of weapons in this world. SaashtrAs identify Him as the source kaaraNam for the entire assembly of weapons.
Thus, By the Naamam Sudarsanan, we understand that He is (1) form of the Sankalpam of the Lord (2) He is the Lord of Kaala Tatthvam and (3) He is the source sthAnam (Uthpatthi ShtAnam) for all the weapons of the world. Lord’s sankalpam is behind the creation, protection and destruction of the universes and its beings (Sentients and Insentients). That renowned Sankalpa ninaivu (thought) is Sudarsana Bhagavaan (Jagath prakruthi-bhAvO Ya: Saa sakthi: parikeertthithA).
Our Lord has six GuNams as ShAdguNya ParipoorNan. These are Jn~Anam, Bhalam, Sakthi, Veeryam, tEjas and Isvaryam. He is therefore known as Para Brahman displaying all these GuNAs in their entirety. This Supreme Being desires to become many (Bahu syAm ithi) and that sankalpa Sakthi is Sudarsanan:
ShADguNyam Tath-Param Brahma Svasakthi-pari-brumhitham
Bahu syAmithi SANKALPAM BhajathE Tath SUDARSANAM
2) What is the meaning of the Naamam, “Sudarsana”?
There are three ways to comprehend the meaning of the ThirunAmam of Sudarsanan. In the previous section, adiyEn summarized the response to the first Question regarding Sri Sudarsana BhagavAn or “Ezhil Aazhi iRaivan” as saluted by Swamy Desikan. adiyEn will take up the next question: What is the meaning of the Naamam, “Sudarsanan”? adiyEn will summarize and add to the comments of ThirukkOttiUr Swamy.
At this time, the wonderfully assembled CD ROM from on the Vaibhavam of Vaikunta Vaasi, U.Ve. SalakshaNa GhanapaaDi, Sri MukkUr Lakshmi NrusimhAcchAr Swamy arrived. Among all the informative tributes assembled by this MaahAn’s dear devotees, there is a section on YajNam and preparations for the MahA Yaj~nams for Sri Narasimha BhagavAn by Him. adiyEn will describe this weekend about the rigors of constructing yaj~na Saalai, consecrating it and the 32 steps in conductance of the SvAthi Yaj~nams to conclusion as practiced by the Maha Nrusimha Yaj~na Adhvaryu Sreshtar. These are narrated by Srimans Sunder Rangachar and Vijay BhAshyam and other devotees. Sriman Rajagopalan Srinivasan of Minnesotta and his tireless team has released this wonderful CD ROM to help continue the conductance of the 107 Yaj~nams performed by this Guru Bhakthi Ratnam, Sri MukkUr Swamy. He was an ardent disciple (Sishya rathnam) of Sri Ahobila Matam Jeeyars and His AchArya Bhakthi was exemplary. As we approach the 76th birthday celebration of prakrutham Jeeyar, HH Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha PaadhukA Sevaka SriVaNN SatakOpa Sri NarayaNa MahA Desikan, the AchArya Bhakthi of MUkkUr Swamy looms large before our minds. Now coming back to the second question posed by ThirukkOttiUr Swamy, there are THREE answers given by him:
(1) That sankalpam of the Lord to create, protect and destroy is beyond the control of any one since there is no one equal to or superior to the Lord. His Sva-Sankalpam, SvyAdhikAram is known as Darsanam prevails without any kind of obstruction. It is beyond the limitations of Kaalam and Desam & vasthu. Since it is so uniquely magnificent and auspicious, the auspicious prefix of “Su” is added to that word “Darsanam” to yield the ThirunAmam of “Sudarsanam”, which is the embodiment of Sudarsanar. This is the SusabdhArTam for the Sacred name of Sudarsanam.
(2) This Sudarsanar is the sacred one, who confers auspiciousness to one and all (Suhrudham Sarva-BhUthAnAm). He is Lord Sriman NaarAyaNan’s cool and rejuvenating KatAksham (nectarine glances). When they fall on the human being at
birth, then that person is blessed with Saathvika GuNams leading to the ultimate boon of Moksham:
JaayamAnam hi purusham yamm pasyEth Madhusoodhana:
Saathvikassa thu vij~nEya: sa vai mOkshArTachinthaka:
(3) That Lord has souseelyam and Soulabhyam as declared by Him :
SamOham SarvabhUthEshu na mE dhvEshyOasthi na priya:
He has no partiality and gives fruits based on one’s karmAs (VinaikaL). He has equanimity in His rulership. His DhaNdadharathvam arises from His wish to free the jeevan from the ills caused by for their trespasses of His commands :
Sruthis-smruthi mamaivAj~nA yasthAmm-ullangya vartatE
ajn~AcchEdhI Mama dhrOhi Madh-bhakthOpi na VAISHNAVA:
Even the punishment He metes out is a KrupA Kaaryam to rid them of their offenses and bring them back into His fold and bless them. Looked in this manner, He continues to be Sudarsanan (NannOkku Udayavan in Tamil). Offenders like Sage DhurvAsar was not destroyed by Sudarsana BhagavAn, when the angry sage offended a Parama BhAgavathan like King AmbharIshan. DhurvAsar was chased by the Sudarsana Bhagavan until the sage fell at the feet of the very same AmbharIshan, whom he had offended. Then, the benevolent Sudarsana BhagavAn as a Suhruth left the Sage alone. Again, the Sudarsana BhagavAn as AayudhEswaran chased KaakAsuran as the power behind the BrahmAsthram sent by Lord Raamachandran.
Jaanaki Raaman consecrated a blade of grass with the powers of BrahmAsthram to destroy the KaakAsuran for his offences against His Devi. The Suhruth chased KaakAsuran around the universes until He fell at the feet of Sakala Loka MaathA, sought Her pardon and was spared.
In summary, by invocation of the name Sudarsanan, we understand the meaning of that dhivya Naamam as:
(1) The uninterruptible (aprathihitham) sankalpam of the Lord, which arises from His svayAdhikAram and svath-sankalpam.
(2) The most auspicious and benevolent katAksham of the SarvalOka Suhruth, Sriman NaarAyaNan.
(3) That impartial, nectarine eye-glances, which nullify the aparAdhams of erring jeevans and engages in the krupA Kaaryam of meting out just punishment and uplifting the Jeevans to His aasthAnam (Supreme abode).
May those Sudarshanams of Lord Sudarshana BhagavAn protect us always as a Kavacham (shield)!
3) What are the fruits or benefits by comprehending the Tatthvam behind Lord Sudarsanam ?
A full understanding of His Tatthvams makes us realize that we are not svthanthrAs with control over destinies. By conducting ourselves with aanukoolya sankalpam (performing only the deeds that please Him) and Praathikoolya Varjanam (staying away from deeds that will be displeasing to Him ), we attain the the full range of fruits
that the four kinds of seekers seek.
4) Is it enough to know His Tatthvam? Do we need to do anything else besides comprehension of His Tatthvam to attain what we seek?
Mere familiarity with His Tathtvams is not enough to realize the sought fruits. For instance, we know that one’s hunger will be quenched, if one consumes food. For quelling one’s hunger, one has to eat the appropriate food instead of just comforting oneself from the bookish knowledge that consumption of food will remove hunger. The hunger will not go away from the mere recollection of the way to quench hunger. We have to take action by engaging in the act of eating to banish the pangs of hunger.
5) What is the action that we should engage in? Is it just one act or more than one?
Since we desire so many kinds of fruits depending on the multiple needs of individuals, we can engage in a variety of acts (as Kaamya and nishkAmya karmAs) that are appropriate to the occasion. NishkAmya KarmAs invoking the principle of ”
LokA; SamasthA: SukhinO Bhavanthu, MahAnthOnugrahNanthu” would be
preferable for PrapannAs and paramaikAnthis ..
The many approaches to worship Him are:
1. Performing AarAdhanam to Sudarsana BhagavAn
2. Recitation of Sudarsana AshtOttharam or Sahasra Naamam daily.
3. Thirumajanam with consecrated waters from one or 9 or 1008 kalasams of archA
moorthys or Sudarsana SaaLigrAmams. Sudarsana BhagavAN can also be invoked (aavAhanam) in Kalasam or Kumbham and the consecrated waters therefrom can be
used for sacred bath to overcome anishtams (misfortunes).
4. NaivEdhyam (Offerings) of chithrAnnams, Fruits et al to those archA moorthys or SaaLagrAma Roopis.
5. Performance of Sudarsana Homams in shaDkONa Yaj~na Kuntams.
6. Prathishtai of ArchAs of Sudarsanan with 4 or 8 or 16 hands holding the prescribed weapons. The front side will have the archai of Sudarsana BhagavAn and the back side would have Yoga Narasimha Moortham with four hands holding four chakrams and sitting in the middle of two intersecting triangles (SahDkONa Yanthram). The archA at Thirukkudanthai, adiyEn recalls, has 8 hands holding the weapons and mudhrAs. The magnificent archais at Kaanchi and Srirangam to my recollection have 16 arms holding the weapons described by Swamy Desikan in His ShOdasAyudha SthOthram. The most beautiful 16 handed ArchA Moorthy of Lord Sudarsana-Narasimhan at the Sri RanganAthA temple at Pomona, NY is one of the most endearing on to behold. Sri Ahirbhudhnya Samhithai, Sudarsana Sathakam et al describe the savaroopam of Lord Sudarsanar.
7. Sudarsana Yanthra AarAdhanai: Worship of the Sudarsana Yanthram drawn on copper or gold plates in the proper way is another way to receive the blessings of Sudarsana BhagavAn. Sri Nrusimha Yanthram with appropriate bhIjAksharams
will be on the other side. Sakala sampaths are within the reach of YanthrOpAsakan, the constructor of this Yanthram and the one who encourages others to create and worship such yanthrams. Ahirbhudhnya samhithai passage celebrates the sarva Sidhdi Pradhathvam (yielding of all siddhis) for yanthra Poojai:
SudarsanEna Yukthasya Naarasimhasya Yanthrakam
Ya: Kaarayathi TasyAnyO lOkO vasyO bhavEdhapi
yEthallEkhana maathrENa Sarvam SampadhyathE NruNAm
Sarva siddhi pradham sarva sampadhAm yEka kaaranam
parAbhchAra samanam pararAjya Pradham Subham
Sudarsana manthra Japam: After initation from a Sudarsana UpAsakar, Japam can be done for immense kshEmams. Manthra Japam is considered even more beneficial for realizing Sudarsana SaakshAthkAram than the performance of Homams.
6) Sudarsana Yanthram / Archai: Since both Lord Narasimhan and Sudarsana BhagavAn are present together in such Yanthrams and archais, what is the proper procedure to worship them? Whose AarAdhanai should come first. Who is parivAram to whom here ?
ThirukkOttiUr Swamy quotes from Ahirbhudhnya samhithai and Manthra SiddhAnthams about the proper procedure. The key passages in response to this query are:
“ChakrAthmA HarirEva hi”
Hence, worship of Sudarsana BhagavAn as Bhagavath Roopam in presence of Sri Yoga Narasimhan is sanctioned. This may sound controversial. The example of a similar situation is cited as Sri Raamachandran of Bhagavath Roopam worshipping as parivAram worshipping Lord RanganAthA (Bhagavath Roopar) at AyOddhyA as PrAdhAnyar (“Saha PathnyA VisAlAkshyA NaarAyaNam upAgamath” of Srimath RaamAyaNam). Sri Paadhma Samhithai of PaancharAthra Aagamam also provides additional pramANams on this matter.
Sri SudarsanAya Nama:
Daasan, Oppiliappan Koil V. Sadagopan