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"Om namO nArAyaNA"   "AndAL thiruvadigaLE sharaNam"   "srimatE rAmAnujAya nama:" 

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Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana

We all know svAmi vEdAnta dEsikan composed srI sudarsanAstakam to relieve the sufferings from a dreadful disease which pervaded in thiruputkuzhi. 

There is another story which enumerates the background for svAmi dEsikan to compose this astakam. He intended to write paramartha bhangam, setting strong arguments against vEda bAhiyargaL and vEda kudirshtigaL. He wanted to take the grace of srI sudarsana AzhvAr, before start of his work.

So, first he composed srI sudarsanAstakam and took the essence of the eight slOkams and then composed the first benedictory verse of paramatha bhangam on srI sudarsana AzhvAr.

From these two incidents, one common  thing we infer is that srI sudarsana AzhvAr removes all our hurdles when invoked. He takes care of three things - Arogyam (health), Ayus (longevity) and Aishwaryam (prosperity).

What does the name "sudarsana" mean? - It is explained as shobanam darisanam asyEti sudarsana: - this means one who gives very auspicious (mangaLakaram), pleasing (priyankaram) appearance to those desired in him and dreadful (bhayankaram) to those evil to him. Next, sukhEna drishyatE asou iti sudarsana: - which means one who shows the easiest path (to mOkasham) is sudarsana.

He is also mainly called as chakrathAzhvAr. The word chakra is explained as kriyathE anEna ithi chakra: - which means by whom all the actions get done. 

His other names includes - rathAngam (which means part of a chariot - the wheel), hEtirAjan (hanyatE anEna - destroyer of evils) and the famous name given by AzhvArs in Tamil is sudarAzhi (which means blazing round circular motion).

The form of chakrathAzhvAr comprises of five parts -

jvAlai - the top fire blaze
nEmi - the sharp edges below jvAlai as mouth (kEzh kUR-nuni vAi)
aram - the spokes as shoulders (sattangaL)
nAbhi - the centre (nadu)
aksham - the pit (kuzhivu)

He holds eight weapons in his hand in a six cornered bimbham (yantram). They are -

vaNNpaNilam (sankham - white conch)
thigiri (chakkaram - discuss)
vaLai vill (sArngam - bow)
vaLai vAi (parasu - axe)
musalam (ulakkai - pestle)
ankusam/pAsakayir (goad / noose)
gadhai (mace)
seNkamalam (lotus shaped weapon)

Using these eight weapons, chakrathAzhvAr gets everything done. Hence svAmi dEsikan in his astakam refers to each one of these in his eight slokams, like how chakrathAzhvzAr gets things done through sankathAzhvAr in the first slokam etc. 

Let us look at it from a grammatical syntax - how svAmi dEsikan framed srI sudarshanAsktakam.

There are totally 268144 vrttas (viruttam), the number of syllables to denote the meter of a hymn and svAmi dEsikan choose the 21700th vrtta to compose srI sudarshanAsktakam.

According to this grammatic syntax - the meter of each line runs as follows using combination of Short consonant (kuril) and Long consonant (nedil, being double of kuril) for each padam.

S S S | L L S | L S S.

Let us take the verses and apply the syntax

pratibhata shrENi bhEshana

pra ti bha | tash rE Ni | bhE sha na
 S    S   S       L      L  S      L     S    S

varaguna sthOma bhUshana

va ra gu  | nas thO ma | bhU sha na
 S    S   S       L      L   S        L     S    S

jayajaya srI sudarsana

ja ya ja   | yas rI su  | dar sa na
 S  S   S       L   L   S    L     S    S

On this day - Ani chithrai, which happens to be srI sudarsana jayanthi, let us seek the grace of sri sudarsana AzhvAr to remove all our hurdles and give health (Arokyam), longitivity (Ayus) and prosperity (Aishwaryam) towards the ultimate purushArtham of prEthikAritha kaimkaryam.

kshamikka prarthikirEn

aDiyEn dAsan

Ramesh Raghuraman