|Parasurama||Sri Rama||Sri Balarama||Sri Krishna||Kalki||Phala struthi|
WHAT IS AVATARA?
We have heard of “Aarohanam” and “Avarohanam” in music. The former means the cadence moving from a low pitch up to a high one; the latter means the cadence coming down from a high pitch to a low one. “Avataara” means the Lord who is in the highest realms of Paramapadam chooses to come “down to earth”. This descent is called “Avataara”.
WHO TAKES THESE “AVTAARAS” AND WHO DOES NOT?
It is Sriman Narayana who is the “Bhagavan” and none else. Stories of the so called Avataras by lesser deities may be found in Raajasa Puraanas which are less authentic while Taamasa Puraanas are not authentic at all (e.g.) the stories of “Pittukku Mann Sumanthathu” and “Sutta pazham, Sudaatha Pazham” etc. episodes are not vouched by any Saatvika Puraanas and hence should be dismissed as imaginative.
WHO IS THIS BHAGAVAN”?
Bhagavan has been defined as one who possesses all the six essential qualities of Jnaana (Knowledge), Sakti (Power), Veerya (Valor), Tejas (Brilliance), Bala (Strength) and Aiswarya (Lordship). Ahirbudnya Siva himself says that it is only Sriman Narayana who possesses all these six qualities.
WHY SHOULD BHAGAVAN TAKE “AVTAARAS”?
Lord Krishna has made it clear in Bhagavad Gita
Yadhaa yadhaa hi Dharmasya Glaanir bhavathi Bhaaratha/
Abhyuthaanam Adharmasya Tad Aatmaanam srujaamyaham//
Whenever there is a decline in the natural order of the Universe, whenever there is a rise in evil beyond certain limits, I manifest myself” and
Paritranaaya Saadhoonaam Vinaasaaya cha Dushkritaam/
Dharma Samsthapanaarthaayaya Sambhavami yugE yugE//
To protect the virtuous, to destroy evil and to establish “Dharma’I recreate myself in every Yuga”.
CAN HE NOT DO ALL THESE BY REMAINING IN HIS NITYA VIBHOOTHI?WHY SHOULD HE TAKE THE TROUBLE OF “COMING DOWN” TO US?
He can do all these without coming down. But, it is to give us the reassurance that He is with the Sadhus by being in their physical proximity that He takes these Avataaras.
The concept of Avataara is a distinguishing feature of Hinduism that is not present in any other religion. God's will is supreme. So, whenever He wants, He can take an Avataara. But, the most important of them all are known as “Dasa Avataara” – the 10 Main Avataaras. He can appear in this world as a concrete person and appear to be in flesh and blood though His body is Suddhasatva. and every such manifestation is called an Avatara
He `touches down' earth so that we can `take off' to his high heavens.
He `demotes' himself to our level so as to `promote' us to his level.
He `descends' leaving his high pedestal to help us leave our mundane existence and ‘ascend' unto him.
He ‘steps down' so that we may ‘step up'.
He humbles himself to teach us realize how humble we really are.
He manifests himself in `ridiculous' forms like fish, tortoise, boar, half-lion, dwarf etc to appeal to our `ridiculous perceptions' and help us `sublimate' our lives
"The Impersonal Absolute God, descends as it were to the level of our
mundane universe and makes his presence felt. The perfect God takes on,
it seems, an imperfection in itself to appear as a living being in
take us imperfect beings on the onward path to perfection. So, whenever an event takes place (as when the son of God appeared on Earth), the people of that time who had the beatific experience of God's proximate presence
worshipped Him as God incarnate. These Avataars are the closest approximation to the divinity for us, who cannot see him in ourselves"1 (1: Dr.V.Krishnamoorthi, Retd. Professor,Pilani)
He ‘lowers’ himself in order to ‘lift’ us up;
He ‘stoops’ to our level so that we might ‘clasp’ his hands.
He ‘debases’ himself in an attempt to ‘ennoble’ us.
He enters ‘our homes’ to make us feel 'at home.' with him
He ‘condescends’ to make us feel ‘worthy’ of him.
HOW MANY TIMES HAS HE TAKEN “AVATAARAS’?
“Avtaaraa: asankhyeyah” – Avataaras are countless. There is a saying
that the Lord Himself has not kept a tab on the number of Avataaras He
had taken! Down from the Vedas to Puraanas, as many as 100 + Avataaras
identified but only 10 as the main Avataaras.
WHY NO AVATAARAS SO FAR IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT IN THIS YUGA IS SAID TO BE WORST?
For this, we have to look at the length of Yuga reckoning.
Kali Yuga 432,000 human years
Dwaapara Yuga (Dwa =two) 2 times Kali = 864,000
Treta Yuga (Tre= three) 3 times kali = 1296,000
Krita Yuga (Kri= 4 ) 4times Kaliyuga = 1728,000
Total 4320.000 or 4.32 million
= 1 Mahayuga
So, there are-
4 Avataaras in Krita (Matsya, Koorma, Varaaha and Nrisimha)
3 Avataaras in Treta Yuga (Vaamana, Parasuraama and Sri Rama)
2 Avataaras in Dwaapara yuga (Balaraama and Krishna)
1 Avataara in Kaliyuga (the apocalyptic Kalki, yet to be)
DO THE AVATARAS HAVE ANY BEARING TO THE MODERN THEORY OF EVOLUTION?
We cannot say so exactly. But in a way, we may derive a parallel:
First, the creatures that live solely in water (Matsya);
Then, those that can live in both water and land (amphibian) (Koorma);
Then, those that live solely on land (Varaaha);
Then Half-lion and Half-man - a stage between Homo sapiens and animals (Tiryaks) (Nara + Simha);
Then, Homo sapiens with short stature (Vaamana);
Then, the rough and tough and not so civilized human (Parasurama, Rama with the axe)
Then, the Perfect example of Civilized human (Sri Rama, Rama with the bow)
Then, one with occupational (say, Agricultural) skills (Balarama, Rama with the plough)
Then, Superhuman (Sri Krsihna)
Then, the apocalyptic (Kalki)
WHAT DOES THE LORD GAIN BY THESE AVATAARAS?
The only gain is that He enjoys the fun making this earth - His fun place. If you take the entire cosmos, Vedas say that Paramapadam known as Vaikuntam or “Nitya Vibhuthi” is 3/4ths and this Universe “Leela Vibhuthi” is the balance of 1/4th.
WHAT IS THIS “LEELA VIBHUTHI”?
This is Lord’s playground.
“ulagam yaavaiyum,thaan ulavaakalum, Nilai peruthalum, neekalum
neengala alagilaa vilaiyattudaiyaan avn padam saran naangale”
Bhagavad Ramanuja in his invocatory slokam of his Sri Bashyam says-
“ Akhila bhuvana janma sthema Pankhaadhi leele” (Leele means in play)
IS THERE ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN ASHTAKSHARAM AND ITS RELATION TO 10
Pranavam has 3 letters a., u. and ma = 3
Na+ra+ya+na+ya = 5
Na+ma: = 2
WHY 13 SLOKAS FOR 10 AVATAARAS?
Azhwars and Avataaras
Abinava Dasa avataaram = 10
Andal + Madhurakavi + Amudanaar = 3
Total = 13
"DASAAVATAARA STOTRAM OF SWAMI DESIKA"- INTRODUCTORY SLOKAM–
DevO na: Subham AaathanOthu dasadhaa nirvarthayan bhoomikaam
RangE dhaamani labda nirbhara rasaih adhyakshithO bhaavukai:/
Yad bhaavEshu pruthak vidhEshu anuguNaan bhaavaan swayam bibhrathee
Yad dharmair iha dharmiNi viharathE naanaa kritir naayikaa// 1
" May the Supreme Lord who descended down to earth in ten incarnations and acted, all in sport, a variety of roles on the massive stage of this earth and Mother Goddess who took appropriate roles and also presided over their drama as great Connoisseurs of histrionic arts – May the Divya Dhampathis shower on us their divine grace"
1. The first Slokam is prefatory outlining the twin requisites of ancient dramatics of "Naandhi" and "Prasthaavana"
2. Naandhi = Prayer to Ishtadevata a Mangalaasaasanam Prasthaavana = Introduction of the "dramatis personae" and the roles donned by them. Both the "Sutradaara"(narrator) and the `NaTi" (actors) have to enter the stage in the opening scene itself. So, both Perumal and Thayar are mentioned in this Sloka. The last 2 Slokas present a summation (Padavakhyam) and Concluding remarks (Phalasruthi)
3. The first word is "Deva" and the last is "Nayika" establishing that the Divine couple together is the Lord of all, the basic tenet of our Siddhantam.
4. Subham = Prayer for eternal bliss and happiness which they alone can grant.
4. Na: = includes "us"- not only the actors but also the audience signifying active involvement and mutual gratification.
5. Bhumikaam = Stage, Costumes, and the World (Bhumi) - (All the world is a stage!)
6. Dasadhaa = 10 Scenes, 10 roles
7. Range Dhaamani = Holy city of Srirangam, the stage or the dais, this universe.
8. Labda = indicates "acquisition of a new experience hitherto unobtained"
9. Nirbhara = "Overflow" of the enjoyment like floods breaching the embankments.
10. Rasaih = is in plural indicative of the rich variety of bliss, a multifaceted experience.
11. AdhyakshitO bhaavukai: = Between (na:) Rasikas and actors (bhaavuka:), SD introduces
"adhyakshita" (Presiding) the Chief patron of the kshetram, Lord Ranganatha Himself who is both "Vaktaa" and "bhoktaa" and enjoys the show in the company of Rasikas.
12. Prithakvideshu anugunaan = Swami Desika emphasizes the common intent and purpose of the Lord and the Lady who are inseparable, a condition that is "sine-qua-non" as per our Sampradayam. "Dwandam
anyonya lakshyam". He seems to suggest that if it were not for Her Sankalpam, the Lord's Sankalpam would be vitiated by "Rasabangham", "Karyabangham" and "Dharma bangham"
13. Yath Dharmairiha Dharmini = She is one with the Lord in the discharge of His Dharma as "sahadharmiNi"
14. Iha = can mean in Srirangam, in this world, and "in every Avatara dasa" as "anthar bhoothai" and "pathni"
15. Naayika = may mean Sriranganayaki, also that she directs the show implying that the entire show is meant to bring out Her greatness. Is nor Ramayana called "Sitaayaa: Charitam mahath"?
5. 16. Naanaa kritir naayika = again, affirms the multifaceted roles she dons in different Avataras.
17. ViharatE = reemphasizes that both the Lord and the Lady "Play"
their respective roles. In the drama in 10 scenes.
nirmagna sruthi jaala maargaNa dasaa dathakshaNair veekshaNai:
antha: thanvadhiva aravinda gahanaan oudanvatheenaam apaam /
nishprathyooha tharanga ringaNa mitha: prathyooDa paatha: chaDaa
Dola AarOha sadOhaLam bhagavatha: maatsyam vapu: paathu na: //” 2
“The Lord dived into the ocean in the form of a fish searched with His lotus eyes, rapidly viewing on all directions creating an illusion of lotus flowers blossoming everywhere - all in search of the Vedas that had been stolen by an Asura. The ebb and flow of the waves of the Ocean seemed to be a swinging cradle that soothed and almost lulled Him into a comfortable reverie. May this Lord of “Matsya Avataara” protect us”
It will be noticed that Swami Desika does not dwell at length on the story behind the scene in His drama. In some cases, he gives just a hint and in others he leaves it to the imagination of the readers. For the information
of those not familiar with the story part, we give the background for a better appreciation of the Avatara Rahasyam and Swami Desika’s composition.
STORY OF MATSYA AVATAARAM
At the end of one of the Kalpas, after a day's strenuous work, as nightfall was approaching Brahma felt sleepy. As his eyelids closed and his mouth opened involuntarily for a yawn the Vedas slipped out of his mouth without
his noticing. But a demon by name Hayagriva did not fail to notice this and hurried to devour the Vedas. Sri Vishnu who is all pervading and omniscient observed this and decided to retrieve the Vedas and restore them to Brahma
to enable him to go ahead with his work of creation during the next Kalpa (day break).
While Sri Vishnu could have wrested the Vedas from the demon by his sheer will-power (Sankalpa), he chose to wait for performing a two-in-one feat of conferring his blessings on a Bhakta, SATYAVRATA by name while destroying the demon. As the deluge (Pralaya) was near at hand, he decided to descend `down to earth' in the form of a `fish' to accomplish both the tasks.
Satya Vrata was a great and good King. Once he went to the river KRITAMALA for offering water (Argya) during Sandya vandana. A small fish came into his hands as he cupped his palms to lift water. He dropped it back in the water. But every time he lifted water the fish was sure to get into his hands. The King left it in a tub but it grew so fast that the tub could not hold it. The king transferred into a well, pond, lake, river and finally the sea as it overgrew so rapidly that none of them could contain it. Satyavrata was amazed, when the fish revealed himself as Lord VISHNU. When the Lord asked the king what he wanted, he did not desire anything for himself. He did not even want Moksha. All that he sought was that even during the impending Pralaya, he should be instrumental in saving the life of worthy souls from destruction.
The fish told him that on the 7th day from then a great deluge(Mahapralaya) would take place when a severe tornado would rip through the Universe and destroy it. But, if Satyavrata could muster herbs, seeds and a pick of beings he wanted for the next Kalpa and keep ready, the fish would send a spacious boat in which all of them as also the Saptarishis (7 sages) would be accommodated and saved. The fish advised that Vasuki, the serpent should be brought and used as a rope for fastening the boat to the horns of the fish. Satyavrata did exactly as advised by the fish and the entire crew was saved. As the boat sailed throughout the night of Brahma, Lord Vishnu taught Satyavrata and the Saptarishis what is known as “Matsya Purana.”. Thus, Vishnu saved true devotees from destruction and endowed them with divine knowledge. During the 7 day waiting period the Lord in his gigantic fish form sought after the demon Hayagriva, killed him in a straight fight and retrieved the Vedas.
Thus, He accomplished the three tasks of saving the righteous, destroying the demon and retrieving Vedas for establishing Dharma. This SATYAVRATA later became the Manu during Chakshusha Manvantara.
Swami Sri Vedanta Desika calls this Avatar as `ICHA MEENA' in his Dasavatara
Stotra to indicate that the Lord took the form of a fish by his desire
(Icha or Sankalpa)
1. Swami Desika makes no mention about this story. Since Leela rasam is the main focus, SD highlights the salient Rasa anubhavam. Here it is “Ichaa”- desire. What is His desire? Taking the form of a huge fish swimming in the
waters of the ocean.
2. Nirmagna Sruti jaala = Vedas that were submerged under the waters
3. Maargana dasaa= in the act of searching
4. Datta kshanai Veekshanai = casts His magic spell through His glances. The ebb and flow of the waters during the forceful swimming of the fish serves as a swing for the Lord!
5. In His hurry to search for the Vedas, His glimpses wandered hither and thither swiftly. So, like a rotating fireball that seems to be everywhere, his lotus eyes were also seen everywhere.
6. Unlike in the picture drawn by Raja Ravi Varma with a half-fish and half- human, the figure depicted by SD shows the figure as a behemoth fish precisely as it is seen in the Archaamurthis in the Dasavatara Sannidhi in
7. A subtle dig at the Lord can also be seen in this description. SD seems to suggest that whatever form the Lord might take, the unique specialty of His (Pundarika aksha) lotus eyes could not be camouflaged! In Stotra Ratnam,
the Acharya describes “Matsya kamala lochanam”, SD goes a step further to say that when His glances wherever they fell created the appearance of bunches of lotus flowers in full bloom.
8. Why this phenomenon? Because the Lord moved so fast, His eyes directed in all directions so swiftly that the underwater seemed to be all lotus flowers.
9. As fish is believed to nourish its little ones by its sheer glance and therefore, known never to bat its eyelids - the MATSYA Lord would save His devotees by his mere glance. The dirt that gets accumulated in beings who
languish in the ocean of SAMSARA - is cleansed by MATSYA Lord’s very glance.
avyaasur bhuvana trayii manibhR^itaM kaNDuuya nairadriNaa
nidraaNasya parasya kuurma vapuSho nishvaasa vaatormayaH .
yadvikShepaNa saMskR^ito dadhipayaH preN^khola paryaN^kikaa -
nityaa rohaNa nirvR^ito viharate devaH sahaiva shriyaa
By the grace of God, the Devas were living happily and were resplendent
with glory. Once sage Durvaasa went to the abode of Sri Vishnu and offered
obeisance to Sri Vishnu and Sri Mahalakshmi (Consort of Sri Vishnu). He
a garland of Sri Mahalakshmi from a Vidhyadhara damsel. Earlier, the divine mother was pleased with performance of the damsel on Yazh, (a stringed musical instrument like harp) and had gifted the garland to her.
While returning, Sage Durvasa passed through the Indraloka where Indra, Lord of Devas was coming in a procession mounted on his elephant. Durvasa offered the garland to Indra. Indra did not receive it with due respect but plucked it with the Ankusa (a goad used to spur the elephant) and placed it on the head of the elephant which promptly threw it down and trampled upon it. The sage got angry at the callous behavior of Indra and instantly cursed him and the Devas that all their glory and splendor would be lost and they would become emaciated and shorn of their power. Even as the sage turned his back, his curse started operating and the Devaloka lost its luster.
Indra went to Brahma who led the Devas to Sri Vishnu, the protector. Lord Vishnu advised that they could reclaim their lost glory and strength only if they drank the nectar of immortality which could be got only by churning the milky ocean. But, how could they do it?
Lord Vishnu suggested that they lift mount Mandara and place it in mid-ocean as a churn dashery using Vasuki, the serpent as a rope for turning it. But, weak as they were, Devas could not even think of lifting the mountain. Lord suggested that they make truce with the Asuras and enlist their support in a joint venture!. But, he also warned that the Devas should not desire any of the things emerging from the ocean even if the Asuras forcibly took them. They should not rest until the nectar appeared and he himself would ensure that the Asuras did not snatch it.
Brahma returned to his Satyaloka and Indra set forth to the Capital of Asuras for peace talks. The Asuras were pleased and agreed to participate in the joint endeavor of lifting the mountain and churning.
As they tried to lift, the burden of the mountain was too much and many
on both sides got crushed. Lord Vishnu mounted the mountain on the back
of `Garuda' his carrier, who flew to the seashore and safely deposited
mountain right at the center of the ocean. Vasuki was wound round Mandara. The Asuras out of ego would not settle for the tail side. So, they took charge of the head side of Vasuki, while the Devas had to make do with the
As the churning began, the mountain wobbled as it had nothing to support
and began to sink. Immediately, Lord Vishnu took the form of a giant sized
tortoise, plunged into the ocean and emerged out with the mountain on his
They churned now with ease. The first thing to appear was the deadly poison called Halahala or Kalakuta (black poison) representing the impurities of the ocean. The poison was so potent as to blind the eyes and affect breathing. Responding to the prayer of the Devas and Asuras, Lord Siva drank the poison. Parvati, his consort stopped the poison from descending down the throat. Hence, Siva is also called NEELAKANTA (Blue-throated). Then emerged SURABHI (the cow), VAARUNI (wine), KARPAKAM / PARIJATHAM (a tree), APSARAS (nymphs) CHANDRA (moon), SRI (Mahalakshmi), UCHAISRAVAS (the white sonorous steed ), AIRAVATHAM'(Indra's elephant).
Finally, Lord DANVANTARI (the divine physician) who is none other than
another incarnation of Lord Vishnu appeared with a golden pitcher with
AMRUTHA (the nectar of immortality) - an elixir of life that can prolong
life indefinitely. (It is also believed to have the properties that can change any base metal into gold) Both the Devas and Asuras were excited and a fight royal ensued.
Lord Vishnu now took the form of a beautiful damsel, enticed the Asuras to give up their fight and entrust to her the task of distributing of nectar among them all, on condition that none would question her action. Both sides agreed to the condition. The Mohini (bewitching damsel) started distributing first to the row where Devas had seated. The Asuras waited for their turn. But, by the time she completed serving the row occupied by the Devas, there was not a drop of nectar left in the pitcher.
Then, Mohini appeared as Lord Vishnu, mounted on his Garuda and flew to his abode. The Asuras, disappointed as they were charged on the Devas. But, the rejuvenated Devas easily vanquished the emaciated Asuras and regained their lost power and glory and the asuras were driven to Patala loka.
It will be seen that Lord Vishnu did everything. He advised them how to get nectar, how to enlist support of their sworn enemies. He arranged to the lift the mountain. He deliberately allowed the asuras to be on the head-side of Vasuki which spouted poison and killed a number of asuras. He held the mountain on his back to enable the churning. He took the form of Danvantri and emerged with the pitcher of nectar. He again appeared as Mohini to ensure Devas and deprive Asuras of a share in the nectar. Without all this help, none of these could have happened and Devas would have been languishing from the effects of the curse of Durvasa forever.
Sri Swami Desikan while describing this Avatara says "Vihara Katchapa"
meaning that Lord did all this in sport assuming the form of a tortoise.
He says that when the mountain moved during the churning, it looked as
gently scratched the back of the tortoise and relieved it of its itching and in the relief so secured, the Lord actually felt sleepy. He imagines that as the waves of the ocean rose and fell, it looked as if it were a swinging 'waterbed' on which the Lord enjoyed the swing.
Thirumangai Azhwar calls him a `GIRIDHARAN' meaning one who bore the
mountain in anticipation of a similar feat the Lord was to exhibit in a
subsequent Avatar as Krishna when he lifted the Govardhana Giri with his
1. Adrinaa: This means “mountain. This is the only reference to the story, nothing else.
2. In 12th Sloka, SD refers to “Vihara Kachchapa” = Sportily donned the form of tortoise.
3. Parasya Koorma vapushO = He roamed as the primordial tortoise (Aadhi Sri Koormam). “Parasaya” also refers to His “Parama purusha tvam”
4. Bhuvanatrayeem avyaasu: = SD indirectly alludes to the story of the world having been protected when Siva is said to have drunk the poison. Did Siva really drink the poison?
“Vayurasmaa upaamanyath pinishta smaa kunannamaa kesee vishasya
PatrEna yad RudrEna pibath sa:’
meaning that it is the Lord who drank the poison making Siva a vessel
to hold it (vishasya PatrEna yad RudrEna pibath sa:)
5. ViharatE = "plays" - is in the present tense indicating that this Avatara is till not yet over.
6. Kanduuyanai: = means creating an itching sensation. When the mountain on His back like a churn dashery rotated during the churning, when the Devas and Asuras pulled it like in the rope pulling game, what could we expect
except excruciating sense of itch for the Lord. But, what actually happened? He felt it so soothing that He was almost lulled into sleep!. SD goes further to say that during this “falling asleep” stage, he breathed so heavily that the waves of the milky ocean rose and fell as if it was gently swinging Him along with Piraatti and felt agreeably comfortable!
7. Does the Lord really sleep? He is a “Nitya Prabuddha”- ever awake and vigilant. In Yadhavabhyudayam SD makes a reference to this “Sleep- awake” situation in his own inimitable style where he suggests that the Lord was in
deep meditation on how to distribute the nectar to the Devas while depriving the evil asuras, though the churning was a joint endeavor!
8. Sriya Sahaiy Eva = SD not only reaffirms the inseparable-ness of the divine couple but according to Acharyas’ Vyakhyanams, all these efforts of the Lord in
- Suggesting to the Devas about the Churning of the milky ocean
- Suggesting making peace with the Asuras as a military strategy to secure
- Arranging to bring the Mantara mountain,
- Bearing it on His back to stop its wobbling,
- Advising Devas to hold on to the tail end of the deadly serpent, Vaasuki,
- Appearing as Dhanvantari with the Pot of nectar
- Assuming the guise of Mohini for distributing nectar to the Devas -
All were done only with a view to secure for Himself the nectarine Mahalakshmi(amudhinum iniya penn amudai adaiya ivvalavu paaDu”)
gOpaayEth anisam jaganthi kuhanaa pOthree pavithree kritha
brahmANDa: praLayOrmi gOsha gurubhir gONaaravai: gurguraih: /
yath dhamshtra ankura kOTi ghaaTa ghaTanaa nishkampa nitya sthithi:
brahma sthambham asoudasou bhagavathee mushEva visvambharaa // 4
“At the time of the great deluge, mother earth was wholly drowned under the waters. The Lord took the form of a huge wild boar and diving deep under the waters salvaged Her. At that time, He exhaled so heavily making a roaring sound that purified the three worlds. The boar bore Mother earth who bears the entire universe firmly on His horn as if She was a tuber root stuck in it”.
VARSHA AVATAR (Wild Boar)
The Maanasa putras of Brahma viz. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana and Sanatkumara – visited the abode of SRI NARYANA. At the seventh entrance, the gate keepers, Jaya and Vijaya stopped them even though they had the right to meet with the Lord without prior appointment. Enraged at this, the RISHIS cursed them to be born in the world. The Lord appeared and approved of the curse but since they were repentant, modified the fiat by offering them to be born on three occasions as demons to be killed by himself in his three future Avatars after which they could re-enter the Kingdom of god.
It is these Jaya and Vijaya who were born as Hinanya-aksha (Golden eyed) and Hiranya kasipu (Golden dressed) during the period of Varaaha and Nrisimha Avatars respectively; Ravana and Kumbakarna during Rama Avatar and Sisupala and Dantavaktra during Krishna Avatar and were killed by Lord Vishnu in the respective Avatars after which they ascended the Kingdom of God.
In the first case, they were born to the sage KASYAPA and his wife THITHI.
It is believed that the disposition of progenies would be determined by
the time the parents united for procreation purposes. And, they were born
demoniac traits as the couple united at an inauspicious time. The two demons developed a hostile attitude towards Lord Vishnu and when sage NARADA narrated a prognosis of the next Avatar of NRISIMHA, they vowed to hide the earth under Patala so that they could prevent the manifestation of the Lord on earth. They set about to conquer the Devas with their newfound power and started tormenting virtuous souls.
The Devas pleaded with Lord Vishnu, the protector and preserver of the Universe. He assured them that he would do the needful.
Brahma was meditating on the Lord, when a tiny boar emerged from one
of his nostrils. Even as Brahma wondered what it was, the boar grew in
size and became as big as a huge mountain with a roar that reverberated
universe, it took a mighty leap into the air and plunged down into the ocean and reached the fathomless Patala where mother earth (Bhumi Devi) was kept concealed by the demons. Digging his tusk, the boar lifted Bhumidevi and held her secure in its horn.
Hiranyaksha was itching for a fight and when he confronted VARUNA, the latter pleaded inability to give a fight and suggested that he call Lord Vishnu who alone would be match for the demon. Hiranyaksha learned from Sage NARADA that Lord Vishnu had taken the form of a boar and was seeking to salvage mother earth from the hideout. Immediately, he rushed to charge the boar and hurled insults on the boar.
The boar, however, ignored all the taunts as it measured the earth with one foot, in this Avatar, The Lord held the entire earth in His horn says POIGAI ALWAR. THIRUMAZHISAI ALWAR calls the MAHAVARAHA MURTHY as GNANAPIRAN. Other Alwars described him as BHUVARAHAN as the Lord lifted BHU DEVI and ADHIVARAHAN since He is the primordial Iswara. It is believed that this Avatar took place at the time of deluge ending the Padma kalpa. ANDAL praised the Lord since out of his love for BHUMIDEVI, he did not mind plunging into dirt and slime in order to retrieve her. To save devotees, he will not hesitate to take even the lowliest of forms and the form of the boar came only next to those of fish and tortoise. The same horn which tore apart the demon, also held gently the mother earth.
Sri Swami Desikan in his Dasavatara stotra extols this avatar as `MAHA POTRIN' referring to the gigantic size of the boar.
1. During the saving, Lord advised Bhudevi, which is known as “Varaaha Puraana”
2. Andal is none other than this Bhudevi reincarnated.
3. Tip of His single horn – “Eka Sringhee Varaahas Tvam” says Ramayana.
4. Anisam: “without night” i.e. always, while in sleep and while awake. (Cf Sadaa pasyanthi Sooraya:) In the previous verse, the Lord is shown as being lulled into sleep. Here, He is shown as fully awake all through! Anisam can also be taken as Paramapadam where it is always bright (athi raatram uthamam ahar bhavathi)
5. Varaaha is NOT a country pig as popularly believed but a huge wild boar like a rhinoceros
6. Nish kampa nitya sthithi = Holding the ever revolving, ever rotating earth firm and steady. The modern scientific concept of earth rotating is brought out here.
7. Viswam bharaa = Bhu devi bore the massive earth; the Lord bore her. Can we imagine the mammoth form of the Lord? It is said the Meru mountain looked like dirt at the feet of the boar.
8. How did mother earth look like? Mustheva = Like a small piece of root (Korai kizhangu)
9. SD describes Him as “Mahaa potrin” – Gigantic. Mahatvam is also a leela!
10. GONa aravair gurgurai: = The roar of the boar was verily the Varaaha Charama Slokam that is the ultimate promise of the Lord to the fallen souls!
11. Pavithree kritha Brahmaanda: = The sound issuing forth from the boar is said to be more forceful than the tornado at the time of deluge reverberating through all directions purifying the entire space.
12. Varaaha is also known as “Jnaana moorthi”- the source of knowledge.
prathyaadishTa puraathana praharaNa graama: kshaNam paaNijai:
avyaath threeNi jaganthi akunTa mahimaa vaikunTa kaNTeerava:/
yath praadur bhavanaath avandhya jaTaraa yaadrichikaath vEdasaam
yaa kaachith sahasaa mahaasura griha sthooNaa pithamahi abhooth//
"The King of VaikunTam Himself came down in the form of Lion-king. Discarding the antiquated conventional weapons, He converted His own nails as the weapon. He appeared in some pillar in the palace of the great Asura and rid it of its sterlity by delivering Him, thus transforming it as the Paternal Grandmother of Brahmas! May that Lord Nrisimha protect all the three worlds"
THE BACKGROUND STORY
NARASIMHA AVATAR (Man-Lion)
On learning of the death of his brother at the hands of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakasipu vowed to kill Bhagavan and his devotees (Bhaagavatas) who were engaged in a Yaga. With this end in view, he did penance propitiating Brahma and got several boons. That he should not be killed by any created thing, on earth or sky, at night or day, inside or outside, by man or beast, celestial beings or Asuras, by any poisonous beings alive or dead or by any weapons.
He became invincible and commenced tormenting all good people.When he
was busy doing penance, Indra took away Hiranyakasipu's wife, who was pregnant.
Sage NARADA stopped him and proceeded to explain to her the glory of MAHAVISHNU.
The fetus growing in the womb listened to the discourse of Sage NARADA
and became an incorrigible Bhakta of Sri VISHNU.On return from penance
with all the boons he got from BRAHMA, Hrianyakasipu
proclaimed that he was himself God and nobody should pay obeisance to VISHNU. When the baby was born to Hrianyakasipu, he was named PRAHLADA meaning one that is supremely happy. When he came of age, PRAHLADA was sent to the Gurukula of his preceptor SUKRACHARYA. Sukracharya tried to inculcate the new syllabus of adoring Hrianyakasipu as God. However hard he tried, Sukracharya could not divert the attention of PRAHLADA from his attachment to VISHNU.
Having failed in his efforts, Sukracharya complained to Hrianyakasipu
who became angry with his son, roared and threatened him. But, nothing
would move PRAHLADA from his devotion and determination to worship Lord
When asked where from he got the courage to defy, the son replied he got the strength from the All-powerful VISHNU.
- He ordered PRAHLADA to be cut asunder but only the weapon used got
- He had him cast away into the ocean but the Lord of the ocean brought him unaffected.
- He was hurled from top of a mountain but the boy was saved by the gentle hands of Lord Vishnu.
- He let snakes bite Prahlada but the Lord who reclines on Adisesha saved the boy.
- He ordered elephants to trample him and
- He ordered the boy to be burnt by fire.
But, Prahlada emerged unscathed every time.
Hrianyakasipu became exasperated. Enraged, Hrianyakasipu vowed to kill
Vishnu and then Prahlada. He asked Prahlada where Vishnu was and showed
a pillar that was in his palace and asked if Vishnu was in it. Prahlada
replied in the affirmative and asked him to say where He was NOT!Hrianyakasipu
kicked the pillar with a bang. With a resounding crash the pillar cracked
and, Lord Vishnu emerged from it in the form of half-lion half- man to
substantiate the words of Prahlada. On seeing a creature that was neither
human nor animal, Hrianyakasipu realized that it could be none other than
Lord Vishnu himself. Almost instantly NRISIMHA seized him and crushed him
in a close embrace but he slipped through his hands, and charged him with
a sword.By that time, dusk had arrived which was neither day nor night,
carried the Asura to the doorstep where under the arch of the doorway he sat laying the Asura on his lap. Thus, it was neither earth nor sky, neither inside nor outside. NRISIMHA tore Hrianyakasipu to death with his claws. Claw is not a weapon, one that was neither alive nor dead.
Periyazhwar explains why he embraced Hrianyakasipu before killing him saying that he was searching whether there was at least an iota of compassion towards his son. Since he did not find any, he decided to kill the Asura.
Sri Swami Vedanta Desika while referring to this AVATARA says, that the pillar in the ASURA'S palace had the luck which other pillars elsewhere in the world did not enjoy because it was from there Bhagavan emerged thus ending her sterility. He jocularly remarks that by this, the pillar had become the grandmother of BRAHMA thus: Brahma is known to be "Pithaamaha" Grandfather. Vishnu is his father. By giving birth to Vishnu, the pillar had become Brahma's grandmother. He calls this Avatar "YADRUCHA HARE" meaning that the Lord appeared instantly and no preparations were made by him for his incarnation.
That the Lord exhibited both his wrath and grace all at the same time is very well brought out in the Sloka 'Satapatala Bheeshane' in Swami Sri Vedanta Desika's Kamasika Ashtakam. When asked how it was possible that the two incompatible emotions could be perceived in the same personality all at once, Emperumanar is reported to have replied that the lioness even when pouncing on its prey, the elephant, would continue to breast feed with love its calf.
1. Kshanam = In a trice, Suddenly. Nrisimha Emerged unexpectedly from
2. Paanijai: = Fingernails; They grow on the hands (paaNI+ja) and can be clipped without hurt. So, they are both alive and dead at the same time since Hrianyakasipu wanted NOT to be killed by anything living or dead!
3. Prathyaadishta Praharana graama: = Discarding the old routine weapons like disc, mace etc. known as Panchaayudham, Shodasaayudham etc. because the Lord had to deal with Hrianyakasipu without offending any of the contrary boons Hrianyakasipu had obtained from Siva.
4. Akunta mahimaa = One of immeasurable glory cf Andal's "Kurai onrum illatha Govindaa".
5. Threeni Jaganthi avyaath = It is such a one who can protect the 3 worlds
6. Vaikunta Kanteerava: = can mean both the Lion residing in Vaikuntam or the Lion called Vaikuntan. Since Hrianyakasipu wanted NOT to be killed by human or animal, the Lord took the Half-lion, Half-human form, which cannot be deemed as either human or beast!
7. Sahasaa = Immediately and with supersonic speed
8. Avantya Jataraa = The pillar was relieved of barrenness (Maladu) And, what happened?
9. Mahaasura Gruha Sthoonaa Piathaamahi abhooth = Swami Desika's imagination runs riot when he humorously says that the pillar in the great Asura's palace gave birth to the Lord thereby becoming the Grandmother for Brahma!
Brahma is known as Grandsire (Pithaamaha); Lord Narayana is the father, having created Brahma; the pillar gave birth to Narayana in the form of Nrisimha and automatically became the grandmother to the grandsire himself!
10. Of all the leelas of the Lord, the most wonderful is that of Nrisimha. It is described as "Athiadbutham" more wonderful than that of Kishnaavatara described only as "adbutham". He had to devise a stratagem appropriate in form, time, location, and place, mode etc. without transgressing the opposite conditions Hrianyakasipu had demanded and was granted in the form of boons.
11. In 12th Sloka, Swami Desika calls the lord "yadruchchaa Hareh" This can mean that He took the form never seen or heard of before and that He took everyone by surprise including Hrianyakasipu, Brahma and Prahlada by
suddenly appearing from a stone pillar! This is also another aspect of Leela.
12. Vedasaam: Brahmas: The word is in plural to indicate that there were several Brahmas from time immemorial. A story in Upanishads describe Brahma as a worm living inside the fruit of a fig tree imagining that the entire world was within the fruit it lived in, not knowing that there were numerous other Brahma worms inside the millions of fruits on the mother tree! There is also a Slokam that says that it may be possible to count the number of sands on the banks of the Ganges or the tiny drops when torrential rains lash but it is not possible to count the number of Brahmas who were born and disappeared!
Gangaayaa: sikathaa: dhaaraa thathaa varshathi vaasave /
Sakhyaa ganayithum lokE na vyatheethaa: pitaamahaah //
13. It used to be said that the Lord appeared to make the words of His
devotee true. When Prahlada said that the Lord WAS in the pillar, He actually
WAS there to prove him true. "Nija Brithya Baashitham" Who is the true
Brithya here? Not only Prahlada but Siva also because He had to be true
to every single faulty boon Siva granted to Hrianyakasipu!
14. Another episode, which some people project is, the story in which Siva is shown as taking a queerer form than Nrisimha as Sarbeswara and killing Nrisimha. This is a concocted story found in an unreliable Tamasic Sthala Purana. Exploding the myth behind this, it is said that "Saraba" perished like a firefly ("salabaha") falling into a burning flame that was Nrisimha!
"Sarabaha SalabhaayatE". Note the alliteration!
15. Swami Desika variously describes Nrisimha as "Adbutha Kesari" (wonderful lion) "kaamaasikaa kesari" ( who became a lion of His own choice), "KapaTa Kesari" (deceitful lion) ,"kelee narasimham" (Playful), "Vishama vilochana" ( One who displays at the same time opposite emotions of anger at Hrianyakasipu and compassion at Prahlada) like a lion which even while pouncing ferociously on its prey continues to breast- feed her cub)
vreeDaa vidha vadhaanya dhaanava yasO naasera dhaaTee paTah:
trai aksham makuTam punan avathu na: TraivikramO vikramah: /
yath prasthaava samuchritha dvaja paTee vrithaantha siddhaanthibhih:
srOthObhih: sura sindhu ashTasu disaa soudhEshu dOdhooyatE //
“ When the Lord went to Mahaabali to beg for three footsteps of land, the bounteous Emperor Mahaabali felt ashamed of himself in offering the gift. When the Lord grew to show His Viswaroopam and measured the three worlds, the foot that went up seemed to be the flagstaff proceeding to proclaim the glorious bounty of Mahaabali. Brahma offered “Paadhyam” to this foot, while the sacred waters flowing from this fell on and sanctified the matted crest of hair of Siva and the eight directions. May that Vikrama’s foot protect us”
THE BACKGROUND STORY:
MAHABALI, the grandson of PRAHLADA was a virtuous king. He performed a sacrifice called `VISWAJIT' (conquest of the worlds) meaning that which bestows mastery over the three worlds. From out of the sacrificial fire arose a golden chariot, an armor and a coat of arms. Donning them, he set out on a `DIGVIJAYA' (Conquest of the directions). With the help of SUKRACHARYA his preceptor, he drove Indra and Devas to the nether world and occupied MAYAVATHI, the capital of Indra.
BRIHASPATI counseled Indra to wait. Nothing could be done and MAHABALI would fall only if and when his preceptor cursed him for disobeying his command a situation that could be contrived only by Lord VishNu.
Kaasyapa Rishi had another wife by name ADITI who was the mother of
Devas.As the banishment of Devas took place at a time when KASYAPA had
gone out for meditation, she awaited his arrival. And, when he returned
the happenings. KASYAPA and ADITI performed a `PAYOVRATA' - (penance for 12 days when the sacrificers could drink only milk). This was done to propitiate SRI VISHNU. Vishnu was pleased and appeared before them and told
that he would be born as the youngest son of ADITI and would help in restoring the glory of Indra. Accordingly he was born during a bright fortnight of the month Bhadrapada. The baby immediately grew up to be a short statured Brahmin Brahmachari (celibate) called VAMANA.
This Brahmachari entered the sacrificial grounds of BALI who was performing
Aswamedha (horse sacrifice). He was resplendent and shone like a thousand
Suryas. Bali was amazed, received him with due honors and requested what
wanted - cows, elephants, horses, gold, chariots and promised that he would give whatever VAAMANA wanted. Vaamana said that he did not desire any of these but wanted that much of land as measured by three steps in his stride.
BALI readily agreed and asked his wife to bring water for consecrating water in his palm. His Guru, Sukracharya realized that it is only Lord VishNu who had come in the garb of a Brahmachari and prevailed upon BALI to retract from his promise. But, Bali insisted saying that if Lord VishNu himself were to seek alms from him, there could no greater glory for him and he would not retract.
Sukracharya became angry and cursed him that he would soon fall from
his high position. And, SRI VISHNU was waiting exactly for this moment.
Soon after the consecration VAAMANA grew and grew so tall that all those
witnessed were amazed to witness such a phenomenon. Vaamana became TRIVIKRAMA and began to measure the three paces. By the first he strode like a colossus and covered the earth. By the second, he measured the Heavens. And, asked BALI where was he to measure by the third pace. BALI bowed low to Vishnu and prayed VIKRAMA to place his foot on his head. Lord VishNu sent him to Sutala to rule there and thereafter to enjoy for a whole Manvantara, the position of Indra.
The three steps are compared by a commentator to three fiery manifestations of the Lord Viz., Flame, Lightning and the Sun-the flame ablaze the terrestrial sphere, the lightning illuminating the atmospheric sphere and the Sun darting across the celestial sphere.
Thus, in this Avatar the God of majesty and power took a dwarf's stature, begged MAHABALI on behalf of his devotee, Indra and at the same time ensured MAHABALI, Lordship of the Sutala, the nether world and thereafter the position of the next Indra in Savarni Manvanthra. It is believed the Lord is still guarding the palace of MAHABALI and had conferred immortality to MAHABALI in recognition and appreciation of his steadfastness in upholding his promise.
Swami Vedanta Desika describes this Avatar as `Raksha Vaamana" - Vaamana
whose only objective is protecting those who surrender to him. Indra surrendered
and on his behalf he took a lowly form of a dwarf. As MAHABALI
surrendered to God when he bowed before the Lord, the Lord assumed the role of a watchman to guard his palace. Since he did not desire to dishonor MAHABALI, the grandson of an ardent devotee, Prahlada, He stooped even to
beg of him three paces of earth and desisted from wresting earth by force. Also, Bhagavaan had promised to Prahlada that he would not kill any of his family members or descendants. So, he had to avert a fight, which would have entailed Mahaabali's death. The only way he could wrest earth was begging and begging for a living was the prescribed vocation for a Brahmin especially a Brahmachari. Thus, he protected both Indra and Mahaabali without bloodshed.
An interesting point which is little known is that when Mahaabali once complained to his grandfather, Prahlada about the decline in the prosperity of his kingdom, Prahlada told him that it was due to the disrespect shown by Mahaabali to the Lord. Mahaabali asked arrogantly who was this VishNu that stood in his way. Prahlada could not bear to hear such a haughty reply and cursed Mahaabali that he would soon be banished from his kingdom. Sukracharya's curse only added fuel to the fire of the curse of Prahlada. Together, the two curses brought the downfall of Mahaabali.
Though, in fact, Lord VishNu (the rightful lord of the Universe) was
only reclaiming what belonged to him and in the process seemed to check
up the measurements since he did it by begging alms- considered an unedifying
he shrank and looked dwarfish and small - all as a supplicant before MAHABALI who looked great as a bestower - a fact that had to be recognized.
ANDAL refers him as "ONGI ULAGALANDA UTHAMAN' - the noble one who measured
the earth by assuming gigantic proportions - to prove that he measured his
Who is a “Uthaman”? One who helps others expecting a ‘quid pro quo’
is an “adhaman”. One who helps without expecting anything in return is
a ‘madhyaman’. One who beliitles himself, not minding the dishonor to one’s
self, yet goes out to help others is “Uthaman”. Here the Lord belittled Himself to help both Indra and Mahaabali. Hence, He is “Uthaman”.
Even as pilot goes before a VIP, the foot of Trivikrama when it reached the high heavens proclaimed the glory of MAHABALI'S bounty
1. This is the ONLY Avatara that is mentioned in the Vedas“Idam Vishnu VichakramE Tredaa nidadE padam”.
2. When the Lord took Viswaroopam, He shone like the combination of the terrestrial flames, the atmospheric lightning and the celestial Sun.
3. Because the Lord had promised to Prahlada not to kill any of his descendants, He had to resort to a strategy to dispossess Mahaabali. The best way that could be done is by begging a gift from Mahaabali. Naturally, out of shame as one with a begging bowl, the Lord had to appear in a diminutive form before Mahaabali, Hence, the dwarf Vaamana!
4. Vreeda vidtha= Overcome with shyness. The Sruti says that Daanam should be given with shyness and humility. “hriyaa dEyam”
Hence, Mahaabali offered gift in this spirit.
5. Vadaanya = Generous. Vada + anya. When one gives Daanam, the donor should feel he had not given enough. His bhaavam should be to ask the recipient Please tell (Vada); “Do you need anything more?” (anya).This is the frame of mind of the generous Mahaabali.
6. Daanava Yasah naaseera Dhaatee patah = The glory of the Asura King was such that when the Lord took the form of Trivikrama and grew, His foot reaching up the high heavens seemed to act as a pilot declaring his glory of a VIP spearheading his army (naaseera).
7. Trai aksham makuTam Punann = Sanctifying the head of the three eyed Siva because the waters flowing from Lord’ feet cleansed with the kamanDalam waters offered by Brahma in SatyalOkam flowed down and was held in the locks of hair of Lord Siva, the locks became purified!
8. The TiruvaDi of the Lord appeared as the flag post; the Ganges looked like the flag (dvaja patee) declaring to all the worlds the glory of Mahaabali’s generosity.
9. It is interesting to note that when one raised His foot (Trivikrama),
one offered Paadhyam and washed it (Brahma) and a third one’s head got
sanctified by the holy waters (Siva)! This establishes without any doubt
to who is Para dEvata.
10. Why did Mahaabali fall? His Guru Sukracharya cursed him when he disobeyed him by insisting on granting alms to Vaamana against Guru’s protests.
Once, puffed up with pride, he challenged his grandfather, Prahlada denigrating the Lord so dear to Prahlaada; Prahlaada spelled a curse that he would lose his possessions. The twin curses led to his downfall.
11. Swami Desika in the 12th Sloka calls Vaamana “Rakshaa Vaamana” – One who protected. This is because he did not kill Mahaabali; Instead, He spread the glory of Mahaabali in all the 8 quarters (Ashtasu disaa soudeshu), sending him down to rule over the nether world of Soothalam and finally assuring him the post of Indra in the next manvantara.
KrOdha agnim jamadagni peeTana bhavam sam tharpayishyan kramaath
a-kshathraam iha santhathas cha ya imaam tri:sapta kritva kshithim /
Dathvaa karmaNi dakshiNaam kvachana thaam aaskandhya sindhum vasan
Abrahmanyam apaa karOthu bhagavaan aabrahma keeTam munih //
“ When the fire of the fury of the Lord as a Sage was roused by a king who
killed his father Jamadagni, He wiped out with a vengeance 21 generations of the Royal clan from the face of the earth. Later He gave away the earth in a Yagjna and retired to a land, which He reclaimed, from the Sea. Let this Lord rid the miseries of the world right from the four faced Brahma to the lowest of creatures”
KARTHAVEERYARJUNA, the ruler of HEHAYA was a great king. He got boons
from Datta AatrEya and other deities to become invincible. Puffed with
ego due to the newfound powers acquired by him, he became tyrannical and
began tormenting every one. Once, he even tried to confront Ravana, the
ruler of Lanka but was defeated and so he made truce with him. With a thousand
arms, with weapons and power, with a powerful ally in Ravana, nothing could
him from his evil ways.
It is to quell Karthaveerya and his ilk and to protect the righteous
from his claws that Lord Vishnu descended down to earth and was born as
BHARGAVA RAMA the youngest of the five sons of Jamadagni and Renuka. Jamadagni's
father was RISHIKAN who married a Kshatriya girl SATYAVATI, daughter of one KHADI. Because of this Varna sangaraha (mixing up of castes) and other circumstances, BHARGAVA Rama though born as a Brahmin exhibited Kshatriya traits and had a liking for weapons, archery etc. Indeed, his favorite weapon was an axe, which he got as a gift from Siva. Parasu means Axe. Hence, he was called PARASU RAMA.
Once, when the five brothers had gone out, Karthaveeryaarjuna entered
the hermitage of Jamadagni and demanded food for himself and his retinue.
With the help of Kaamadhenu, Jamadagni got food prepared for the host of
Karthaveerya knowing this demanded Kaamadhenu. But, Jamadagni would not part with it. The king forcibly took away the cow and the calf.
When PARASU RAMA learnt of the incident, he marched towards MAHISHMATI, the capital of the king. The king dispatched 17 battalions of Ratha (Chariots) Gaja (elephantry), Turaga (Cavalry) and Pathadhi (infantry) each one called an Akshouhini. Single-handed, PARASURAMA destroyed the entire lot and then cut off the thousand arms of Kaarthaveerya and killed him with his axe. Retrieving Kaamadhenu and her calf, he returned to the hermitage where life was proceeding peacefully for some time.
On another occasion, Renuka who went to fetch water from a nearby river happened to see some celestial Devas playing. Since her attention was distracted, it became too late when she returned with the water required. Jamadagni got angry and asked his sons to behead her. But, none would carry out his commands. Then entered PARASU RAMA when his father ordered him to behead not only Renuka but also his brothers. Without hesitation, PARASU RAMA carried out the orders. Pleased, the father asked what boons he wanted.
All that PARASU RAMA wanted was that his mother and brothers should come alive and be oblivious of whatever had happened. Jamadagni granted the boon and they did come alive and life was again peaceful at the hermitage.
But, not for long.
Kaarthaveerya's sons stormed the hermitage to avenge the death of their father Only Jamadagni and Renuka were there at that time, Ignoring the pleadings of Renuka, they cut off the head of Jamadagni who was deep in meditation. Renuka was beside with grief and was crying aloud as PARASU RAMA returned. She beat her breast 21 times. PARASU RAMA vowed that he would wipe out 21 generations of Kshatriyas and proceeded to do the `Samskaras' for his father. Jamadagni gained the realm of the seven Rishis (Saptarishi mandalam). PARASU RAMA carried out his vow, wrested the land and properties of Kshatriyas and finally gave them away to sage KASYAPA and retired to the southwest corner of India. Swami Sri Vedanta Desika describes him as 'ROSHA RAMA' (Indignant Rama)
When, Parasu Rama confronted Dasaratha who was returning from Mithila after the wedding of Rama and Sita, RAMA the AVATAR took back all the powers of PARASURAMA since the purpose of PARASURAMA AVATAR was completed.
Parasurama threw his axe into the western ocean. The ocean receded upto the point where the axe fell and the land so reclaimed is known as Parasurama Kshetram. Scholars say that modern Kerala is this Kshetram.
This Avatar is not a direct Avatar. Lord Vishnu entered the soul of a Brahmin son of Jamadagni (By Avesa or Anupravesa). Of the 10 Avatars, except Parasurama avatar all the others are Amsa avatars (i.e.) Direct descent of Lord Vishnu
1. We can find shells called “Kilinjals” in Kerala even today to substantiate
2. It may be noted that in the entire Stotra, this is the only one having some details of the story.
3. Abhramanyam apaakarothu: = This is the shrill call usually signaled whenever anything was noticed against the SAtvika Brahmins in those days.
4. This story shows that gifting landed property (Bhoo daanam) was the greatest gift.
5. It also shows that Brahmins are born not only take Daanam but they also give Daanam.
6. Yet another lesson is that one should not desire to stay on land already gifted away.
7. Sam tharpayishyan = This refers “Tarpanam” made with blood (Kurudhi Tarpanam)
8. Tris sapta krutva = 3 x 7= 21 times his mother beat her breasts and he vowed to destroy 21 generations of Kshatriyas.
9. Bhagavaan Munih = Nowhere else has this peculiar expression of “Muni” employed. Why? To denote that this was not a Poorna Avatara but only an AavEsa Avatara, in which the Lord entered the soul of a Muni.
10. In 12th Sloka, SD refers to this Avatara as “ROsha Rama”. “ROsham” does not mean mere anger but the spirit of revenge for injustice, which is a natural instinctive response of a Kshatriya. As will be seen from the story, though he was born in a Brahmin household, due to some circumstances, he acquired the characteristics of a Kshatriya.
paaraavaara payO visOshaNa paareeNa kalaanala –
jwaalaajaala vihaara haari visika vyaapaara gOra kramah /
sarvaavastha sakruth prapanna janathaa samrakshaNaika vrathee
dharmO vigrahavaan adharma virtheem dhanvee sa thanveetha na: //
“ He can, with His bow and arrows wreak havoc on everything and dry up the vast bodiess of waters of great oceans like the fierce fire-force of deluge.
His valor is incomparable and unsurpassed. Yet, His compassion is so great that if one were to surrender at His feet for once, He has vowed to afford protection as a matter of principle and policy, whatever the circumstances, even at the risk of His own life! Let that Lord Rama, the wielder of the mighty bow, the Greatest of heroes and who is Dharma personified, save us”
As most of our readers would be aware of the story of Ramayana, we do not propose to retell the story except to highlight some little known aspects in the well-known story.
1. It may be noted that there is no mention of Ravana in this Sloka.
2. In the first 2 lines, the valor of Rama is spoken of to show His “Paratvam” with reference to the power of His bow (Dhanvee). Since this word pairs with “Thanveetha” (Protect), Swami Desika seems to suggest that He could protect because of the prowess of his Dhanus (bow)
3. In the next 2 lines, His compassion gets mentioned to show His “Soulabhyam” in protecting anyone who surrenders to Him. That is why, SD calls Him (personification of Dharma)“ Vigrahavaan Dharma:” and “adharma virathi” (destroyer of evil) the twin objectives of Avatara Rahasyam.
4. There is a misconception about Rama worshipping Siva in Rameswaram. This is NOT mentioned in Srimad Vaalmiki Ramayanam nor in Kamba Ramayanam. It is Tulasidas who imaginatively introduced this in his “Rama Charita Manas”
5. Another instance of an incorrect interpretation which people make relates to the pious lady SABARI. The popular notion is that she bit the fruits and saved the good ones bearing her spittle for offering to Sri Rama. This is not correct. All she did was to taste a sample of fruit from each tree in her garden and throw away the bitten one but left the other fruits to remain on the same tree, provided the one she had tasted, tasted good. This is because Sabari knew that it would amount to defilement to offer to the Lord the remains of anything that she had partaken earlier
6. The incident in which Sri Rama is said to surrender to the Ocean
King that went futile shows that only surrender by a weaker person to a
capable person will be fruitful and the reverse will be in vain. Rama had
Sakti, Veeryam etc unlike the Ocean king.
7. Sakruth Prapanna Janathaa = indicates that Prapatti is the ONLY sure means for Moksha- a cardinal concept in our Sampradayam.
8. RAVANA was the brother of KUBERA. He became so powerful that he even made the nine planets to be the steps leading to his throne. Because he attempted to rape RAMBHA, the wife of NALAKUBARA (son of Kubera), she cursed that Ravana's head would be smashed into smithereens if he attempted to rape any woman. Incidentally, that is why he did not force Sri Sita when he abducted her.
9. The most important aspect of Ramayana is the vow of Sri Rama to protect
those who surrender unto him. Sri Swami Desikan has aptly described this
`Quality of mercy' of the Lord referring to Rama as "KARUNA KAKUTSTHA".
is “Compassion incarnate”. No other event in the entire Ramayanam t brings out this aspect more than the “Kaakaasura” incident in which Indra’s son took the form of a crow and tormented Sri Sita. When King Raghu went to help Indra in a war against Asuras, he did so on condition that he would ride on the hump of a bull and Indra was to act as the bull. “Kakuth” means hump of a bull. Remembering that some ancestor of the Crow (Indra) helped some ancestor of his own; Rama took compassion on the crow and spared its life, taking away only one its eyes.
10. In the hermitage of SUDEEKSHANA, Rama says to Sita that he would
not mind laying down his life or deserting both her and Lakshmana but he
would never give up his vow to protect those who surrender to him even
if it be
his arch enemy, RAVANA.
11. He vowed also that He would treat anyone who created trouble for the Satvic Rishis as His own enemies. So, it is for this reason that He killed the Asuras even though they did no harm to Him personally
12. Nammazhwar asks, "Will any one who desires to learn, learn anything other than Rama?” "KARPAR RAMPIRANAI ALLAL MARRUM KARPARO". Why? Because, Rama is fills the minds of anyone who thinks of Him.
13. ANDAL who commenced eulogizing Lord Krishna in her Tiruppavai calls Lord Rama as “manathukku iniyaan”. This is because she reminds Krishna how as Rama the Lord took so much pains to build a bridge, take a whole battalion of vaanaraas, fight fiercely and destroy Ravana and his army. All for the sake of one woman, Sri Sita!She seems to have a dig at Krishna whether he would not take a leaf of lesson from this incident, in the case of the multitude of Gopis who were pining only for His love and affection!
14. The very word Rama is derived from the statement “ramayathi ithi Raamah
15. Swami Desika has written in the Gadya style a great work entitled "MAHAVEERA VAIBAVAM" otherwise known as `RAGHUVEERA GADYAM' in lucid style bringing out the glory of Ramayana.
16. This is a PURNA AVATAR (Complete incarnation) of Mahavishnu himself, Lakshmana that of Adhisesha (couch) Satrugna the aspect of Panchajanya (conch) and Bharatha the aspect of Sudarsana (Chakra).
17. Compassion is also an aspect of the Lord’s leela.
Pakkath Kowrava paTTaNa prabruthaya: praastha pralambaadaya:
Thaalaankasya tathaa vidhaa vihruthayas thanvanthu bhadraaNi na: /
Ksheeram Sarkara yEva yaabhir apruthak boothaa: prabhoothair guNai:
Aa-kowmaarakam aswadantha jagathE krishNasya thaa: kELaya: //
“May the exploits of Sri Balarama like his turning upside down Hastinaapura, the capital of the Kauravas, his wiping out the Rakshasas like Pralambasura do us all the good. Right from childhood, Balarama was inseparably involved in the sporting activities of Sri Krishna making them more enjoyable, like the inseparable sugar dissolved in milk therby heightening its taste.”
This Avatar and that of Sri KRISHNA happened in Dvaparyuga. Vasudeva's first wife was Rohini. The second wife was Devaki. For the seventh time Devaki conceived and it was Balarama. But, Lord through His `Yogamaya' had the fetus transferred from the womb of Devaki to that of Rohini. Balarama was the aspect of Adisesha, just as Lakshmana was in Ramaavatara.
Balarama was fair in color and he had a palm tree inscribed on his flagstaff. Balarama's weapon was the Hala (plough).
SWAMI SRI DESIKA calls him HELAHALIN - One who wields the plough as his weapon. BALARAMA married REVATI, daughter of Raivata. He killed `RUKMI' brother of Rukmini when he exceeded his limits in his misbehavior. Once he dragged the entire HASTINAPURA with his plough when the Kauravas refused to free SAMBHAN son of JAMBAVATI (one of the wives of Krishna). When the Kauravas surrendered he also released Hastinaapura.
During the Mahabharata war he did not join either Kauravas or PaaNDavas but left on a pilgrimage along with VIDHURA because both sides were his close relatives.
After the destruction of the Yadhavas, he took his serpent form, entered the sea and disappeared. Some scholars say that BALARAMA AVATAR was not a PURNA AVATAR.
1. There is a Slokam, which says that the same Adhisesha of Krita yuga took the form of Lakshmana during Treta yuga, Balarama in Dwapara Yuga, and Bhagavad Ramanuja in Kaliyuga.
Anantha: prathamam roopam Lakshmanasthu tatha: param/
TriteeyO Balabadras thu Kalou Raamaanuja Smritah//
2. ANDAL calls him “Sempor kazhal aDi selvaa, baladEvaa” The reason
for this is explained by Poorvacharyas as follows:
All the earlier babies born to Devaki met with death. It was only because of the conception of Balarama in Devaki’s womb immediately before His own that a kind of protection arose so that when KrishNa was born he could survive and have a safe passage too!
3. Some substitute Buddha in the place of Balarama. This is not correct
and Buddha is NOT recognized as one of the 10 main Avataras. In Mahabaratham
Santhi Parva (46.107) Bhishma tells that Krishna would take the form of
auxiliary Avatara as “Aadhi Buddha” and mislead the non- believers. This “Aadhi Buddha” is different from the Siddartha Goutama Buddha of historical fame.
4. Balarama is also considered to be the reincarnation of “Samkarshana”, the first of the 4 the Vyuha murthis next only to Paravaasudeva. Patanjali in his Mahabashyam refers to this aspect when he says ‘Samkarshana-Vaasudevou”
5. Praastha Pralambaadhaya: thathaa vidhaa: vihrutayah = That he did so many feats along with Krishna is indicated by this “aadhaya:”
6. Aa-koumarakam = from childhood days
7. Ksheeram Sarkarayaa iva apruthak bhoothaah = Krishna and Balarama were always together like milk and sugar mixed
8. In 12th Sloka, SD calls him “Helaahalin” – The plough was both for fun (leela) and as weapon. Wielding weapon was itself a leela.
Naathayaiva namaH padam bhavathu nas chitrai: charitra kramai:
BhooyObhi: bhuvanani amooni kuhanaa gOpaaya gOpaayatE /
KaaLindhee rasikaaya kaaLiya paNi spaara spaTaa vaatikaa
Ranga utsanga visanka chankrama dhuraa paryaaya charyaa: yathE //
“ Let our obeisance be only for the Supreme Lord KrishNa
- who protects the world with His most wonderful acts
- who enjoys and relishes His association with the river Yamuna
- who performed a dance fearlessly making the broad hoods of the KaaLinga
serpent as His stage and
- who accomplished numerous such impossible but
- who nevertheless disguised Himself the garb of a simple cow-herd”
As in the case of RAMA AVATAR, most of our readers would be familiar with the story of Krishna, his childhood pranks and exploits and his role as GEETHACHARYA at the battlefield of KURUKSHETRA. We do not propose to give the details of this AVATAR. We, however, highlight some of the less known aspects of this well-known AVATAR.
1. Do you know who is the most favorite Avatara for Swami Desika? He answers this question saying “My obeisance is ONLY for Krishna” -“Naathayaiva namah padam bhavathu”
2. As in the case of other Avataras, SD mentions only the Kaalinga narthana
incident and says” Numerous such other feats” (Dhuryaa Paryaaya charyaa
yathE’. What is the big deal about this? Krishna’s favorite playground
the banks of river Yamuna. The way the small kid jumped on the hoods of the ferocious multi-headed serpent and what is more danced on it brings out the Paratvam and Soulabhyam of the Lord all at once. This incident also brought forth the intimate nexus between Naataka (drama) and Naatya (Dance). It is said that in Krishnavatara, there are 700 varieties of leelas and 7 kinds of dances, one of which is this Chaaree nrithyam
3. One of the popular notions about the lifting of the GOVARDHAN mountain is that Sri Krishna was holding it as a pyramid with his little finger at the base. According to Bhagavatha Purana, this is not so. He made of the mountain an inverted pyramid and was holding the mountain's tip by his little finger.
4. Another aspect of Lord Krishna, which draws lot of criticism, is about the episode in which he concealed the dresses of the Gopis sitting on top of a tree and asking them to come out of the river in the nude. These critics read too much into this and try to impute motives imagining him to be a vile youth. This is not correct. It should be remembered that this episode happened when he was an adolescent and constituted a childhood prank as indeed so many other pranks played by him at that age. And, Bhaagavata PuraaNa explains that this reminded the Gopis that they should not bathe totally naked as such bathing is prohibited in the Sastras.
5. "As for young Krishna's erotic exploits that have been the subject
of much of the romantic literature, a discerning critic would recognize
a faint but definite religious element ..... Invariably, however, the love
of God for the cowherds' wives is interpreted as symbolic of the love of
God for the human soul. The notes of Krishna's flute, calling the women
to leave their husbands' beds and dance with him in the moonlight, represent
the voice of God, calling man to leave earthly things and turn to the joys
of divine love. So Jews and Christians alike have interpreted the 'Song
of Songs' and so many mystical poets of all religions have depicted their
spiritual experience. Despite its luxuriant eroticism, the legend of the
divine cowherd produced great religious poetry and inspired many pious souls"
6. "In a story often cited, 60,000 sages wanted to become united with Vishnu in his incarnation as Rama. Rama tells the sages that he cannot oblige them in his present role, for as Rama he is sworn to monogamy. But he will oblige them in his next incarnation as Krishna; the sages can all be reborn as cowherd women (Gopis) and unite with him in love. In this view, all devotees are felt to be feminine; the Lord is the supreme male- the lover"
7. " Vishnu, in his incarnation as Krishna, is above all, a God of love and the ideal becomes intimate union and communion with the incarnate God, both in His timeless essence and in His ceaseless beneficent activity in the world of action. After the Gita, popular Hinduism becomes predominantly a religion of love"
8. It is asked by some that if Krishna himself could indulge in such erotic orgies, what is wrong if we do the same thing. As Krishna himself has said that what great people do, others would follow and Krishna's activities with the Gopis would seem to confer a license of sorts for others to follow. Lord Krishna himself advises "What great men do, others less endowed or less evolved would follow their example"
9. And again he explains why he is carrying out his duties: 'If I do not carry out my duties, even those desirous of following their Dharmic duties will give them up following my example and I will be responsible for spoiling them. That is why even though I as Bhagavaan need not be bound by formalities laid for humans, I do observe them'
10. His marrying Rukmini and Satyabhama, his amorous pranks with Radha
and the Gopis - all happened during his boyhood days. It should be remembered
that in those eras, child marriage was the order of the day and it is not
correct to impute any sexual misdemeanor either to Krishna or to his partners.
11. Also, we have to understand that Krishna's union with the Gopis was not on base, blase, banal, physical level but on a sublime, spiritual, platonic plane with none of the carnal inhibitions which we in our limited, myopic perception would like to associate with. Also, even granting just for the sake of argument that the union was of the kind we have ' in our mind', we can also imitate him provided we are capable of imitating all other acts of his like sucking life out of the breasts of Puthanai, the demoness, or lifting on the little finger the huge mountain of Govardhan, or dancing on the hoods of the hydra-headed serpent Kaalinga or proclaiming such lofty themes like Bhagavad Gita or even following them at the least. So long as we cannot even imagine doing such miracles, we have no right to question the deeds of Krishna from a mere mundane level.
12. In our own times, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa while walking on the road with one of his disciples stopped to drink some liquor on a wayside grove. The disciple thought that he could also do the same. After sometime, they found molten iron in the boiling cauldron of a blacksmith. Without any hesitation, Ramakrishna drank of the liquid as easily as one would gulp down water. The disciple realized that he could not repeat the feat. The moral is that we should follow what great people advise and not try to do what they do.
13. We hear of Krishna right up to his boyhood days. There is a big gap in the story of his life until he reappears on the scene as the friend, philosopher and guide of the Paandava princes by which time he was past 40 years of age. It is then that he went as a messenger of Paandavas, joined the Paandavas in their battle against the Kauravas and preached the gospel of BHAGAVAD GITA to Arjuna.
14. The name of Christ resembles that of Krishna. Except for the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, nothing was known about his boyhood days. All his exploits, encounters etc. took place during this period and unto about 40 years of age when he was crucified- the interregnum significantly obscure in the life history of Sri Krishna. Some scholars are tempted to believe that Krishna it was who appeared as Christ and on resurrection reappeared as the friend, philosopher and guide of the Paandava princes. They adduce another similarity like both being born in humble surroundings like prison and the cattle shed and like Krishna tending cows and Christ tending sheep - the belief is reinforced. This cannot be correct because Lord Krishna was in the Dvapara Yuga some 6000 years back, while Jesus Christ lived less than 2000 years back and the belief is definitely baseless and represents a pathetic belabored attempt to integrate the two religions.
15. Almost all the ALWARS had enjoyed the innumerable episodes in the
life of Lord Krishna. Swami Vedanta Desika calls him "KREEDA VALLABHA"
to show that his impossible feats and the miracles were done as if in a
magnum opus is his Bhagavad Gita that stands supreme as the essence of Hindu Philosophy and accepted as such the world over.
Bhavinyaa dasayaa bhavan iha bhava dvamsaaya na: kalpathaam
Kalkee vishNuyasa: sutha: kali kathaa kaalushya koolankasha: /
Nis sesha kashtaha kanTakE kshithi thalE dharaa jaloughair dhruvam
Dharmam kaartha yugam prarOhayathi yath nistrimsa dhaaraadhara: //
“The Lord who presents Himself to us now in Archaa form is sure to reappear later on in the form of Kalki, being born as the son of a Brahmin called VishNuyasas. To put an end to the present calamitous Yuga, with a blazing sword on hand and riding a horse, He will exterminate all evil, re-establish Dharma and make the golden age spring forth again as if watered by His compassion. May He get rid of our pangs of Samsaara”
As his is the apocalyptic incarnation, no background story is available. Yet, this is the only Avataaram described by Swami Desika with some detail like the name of Lord’s father as “VishNuyasas”.
KALKI AVATAR (The Apocalyptic Redeemer)
1. The Avataras mentioned earlier happened in the earlier yugas. This Avataara is expected to take place at the fag end of Kaliyuga. The present Yuga is KALIYUGA.
2. After Lord Krishna’s ascent to Paramapadam at the end of Dvapra Yuga,
evil forces started raise their ugly head. Vishnu Puraana gives a graphic
account of how evil forces would attain supremacy and virtuous people would
3. We are said to be in the 5102nd year (as of 2001-2002) out of the total of 432,000 years of the KALIYUGA. The Kali Yuga is said to come to and end after 426,898 years. During this period, the evil forces would progressively gain control and destroy all good ones by the time Kaliyuga comes to a close.
4. BRAHMA is believed to have told NARADA about all the Avatars including the apocalyptic KALKI AVATAR.
5. According to Puranas, when the evil becomes unbearable, Lord Vishnu will be born in a village called 'SAMBALAM' on the banks of Ganges as the son of a Brahmin couple called VISHNUYASAS and SUMATHI.
6. He will be riding a white horse called “kalkam (karkam) and wielding a sharp sword will traverse the entire Universe in three nights weeding out all evil forces and establishing a Krita yuga back again -thus being the harbinger of the 'Golden Age' on earth.
7. May the Lord who now appears to us in Archaa form and who is going to take this form of Kalki put an end to our cycle of births and deaths in Samsaara.
8. Kalikathaa kaalushya koolankasha: refers to the destruction of evil
9. Dharmam Kaarthayugam refers to the establishment and revival of Dharma
10. “Nistrimsa dhaaraadhara:” is suggestive of the gushing waters of Ganga (also known as “Tripathaka” due to its fanning and flowing out as Ganga proper, Jamuna and the subterranean Saraswathi rivers)
11. Swami Vedanta Desika describes him as 'KALKAVAHANA DASA KALKIN', meaning “Kakin seen as riding on the horse named Kalka”.The leelas mentioned in this are horse riding, sward wielding etc.
vidhyO udanvathi vEnkaTEswara Kavou jaatham jagan mangaLam
dEvEsasya dasaavataara vishayam stOtram vivakshEtha yah /
vaktrE thasya saraswaththee bahumukhee bhakti: paraa maanasE
suddhi: kaapai thanou disaasu dasasu khyaathi: subhaa jrumbathE //
“ Let me tell you what one can acquire on reciting this StOtram in praise of the 10 Avataras of the Lord of Lords, Sri Tiruvarangan that arose from the great poet VEnkatEswara, a veritable Ocean of knowledge. This StOtram is intended to bring welfare of the entire world (Jagan MangaLam)
Even if one were to THINK of reciting this StOtram -
1. Goddess of learning, Saraswathi, will bless such a person’s tongue in a variety of ways.
2. Such a person will develop in mind an extraordinary devotion to the Lord
3. Such a person will acquire even physical purity and
4. Such a person’s fame will spread far and wide in all the 10 directions of the world.
13th SLOKA: PHALASRUTHI:
This is a peculiar Phalasruthi in many ways.
1. Devesasya = It reiterates that it is the Supreme Lord Narayana who took all these Avataras “Thum Devathaanaam Param cha Deivatham” He is the Lord of Lords.
2. Jagan mangalam is the name of a herb which arose at the time of the churning of the milky ocean deemed to be very efficacious, if one were to wear a small piece of it.
3. Jaganmangalam: This Stotra will bring bliss to the entire world. How and why?
There are some Mantra Sabdas (sounds) and Mantra syllables (Mantra aksharas) that all and sundry are normally not allowed to recite. But, Swami Desika has fine tuned and integrated them in this StOtra in such a way that anyone
can recite and secure the same benefits that the original Mantra Sabdas and Mantra aksharas would confer.
4. VivakshEtha = is very significant. In the previous Sloka (12), Swami used the word “Jalpantha:” This word literally means “Prattling”. The idea is that it is not absolutely necessary to know the meanings of the words like the scholars do. But, even the illiterate and the uneducated who may not be able to grasp the import of the StOtra can derive the benefits out of this StOtra, by merely “prattling” what little they could!5. In this Sloka, Swami uses the word “VivakshEtah”. He goes one step further to emphasize that even if one were to “DESIRE” to recite, let alone ACTUALLY RECITING or even PRATTLING as stated in the previous Sloka, this Stotra is sure to confer all the benefits it can.
6. It indirectly suggests that even children who cannot recite or cannot do so with the correct pronunciation can be initiated into the recitation. The very DESIRE to do so would assure them of the results.
7. What benefits can this Stotra confer?
(i) VaktrE Tasya Saraswathi Bhaumukhee :
The Goddess of learning will embellish speech and make one proficient with the “gift of the gab”.
(ii) Bakthi: Paraa MaanasE
Devotion of the highest caliber in the mind.
(iii) Suddhi: kaapi thanou :
Spiritual purification of the soul and even physical cleanliness.Purification of soul is beyond our comprehension. But,how physical cleanliness that can be had only be bathing can be secured?There are seven kinds of Snaanams mentioned in the scriptures viz Aagneya, Bhowma, Divya, Mantra, Maanaseeka, Vaayavya and Vaaruna. This is a kind of Snaanam known as “Maanaseeka Snaanam”, one of the above seven, which is prescribed in special circumstances when one is not able to take bath with water.
(iv) Disau Dasasu Khyaathi Subhaa jrumbathE :
Fame of such a person will grow and spread in all the 10 directions.When describing Vaamana Avataara, Swami said that the fame of Emperor Mahaabali spread over only the 8 directions (ashtasu disaa).Here, however, he says that the fame of the person desiring to recite the StOtra will spread to 10 directions. May be, because the Stotra is on the 10 Avataras! (disosu dasasu)