Sri Hayagriva Stothram – Prologue

Sri Lakshmi Hayagrivar and Swami Desikan


Sri HayagrIva Jayanthi is an important day for all who worship Sri HayagrIvan as “AaadhAramSarva VidhyAnAm” (Foundation for all knowledge). Swamy Desikan’s first sthOthram is onLord HayagrIvA. Sri HayagrIvan presented Himself before Swamy Desikan at Thiruvahindrapuram’s OushadAdri Hill. Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn’s laalAmrutham (nectarinesaliva) fell on the tongue of Swamy Desikan and blessed him to become the AchAryaSaarvabhouman (Most noble among the AchAryaas). AdiyEn would like to present a set ofarticles on the most moving personal eulogy of Swamy Desikan revered as “Sri HayagrIvasthOthram”. This sthOthram has powerful manthra siddhi in adiyEn’s experience.

Sri Lakshmi Hayagrivar and Swami Desikan

Swamy Desikan has captured the essence of Vedams, Upanishads, Brahma Soothrams and other sacred texts in choosing the words in this sthOthram to eulogize the greatness of Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn and the ancient tattvam that He represents.

AdiyEn will attempt to comment on the deeper meanings behind the selected passages and word groups in the 33 slOkams of Sri HayagrIva shtothram in the subsequent articles and try to conclude this series with His anugraham.

May Sri HayagrIva Bhagavaan bless this meager effort and accept it as a humble samarpaNam at His lotus feet.

We must remember that Sri VedAntha Desikan of Thuppul was only in his twenties, when he composed this sacred sthOthram. By the tender age of twenty, Swamy Desikan had already mastered VedAdhyayanam, Dhivya Prabhandham, Tarkam, VyAkaraNam and other saamAnya Saasthrams. His uncle Sri AppuLLAr, a direct disciple of the famous NadAthUr ammAL was Swamy Desikan’s AchAryan. AppuLLAr taught Swamy Desikan Sri BhAshyam, Sri GeethA BhAshyam, Rahasyaarthams and other AchArya Sookthis as well. Swamy Desikan’s pravachana sakthi and medhA vilAsam even at the age of twenty was extraordinary. AppuLLAr initiated his dear disciple further into Garuda manthram, which was a family treasure.

After AppuLLAr ascended parama Padham, Swamy Desikan traveled to ThiruvahIndhrapuram to worship Sri HemAbhja Valli samEtha Sri DEvanAthan. One day, he climbed the small hillock in front of Lord DeavanAthan’s temple known as OushadhAdhri and sat under a big pupal tree. With immense tranquility descending on him, he began to recite Garuda manthram for number of hours. Garuda BhagavAn was immensely pleased with VedAntha Desika’s japam and appeared before later, blessed him and initiated VedAntha Desikan into Sri HayagrIva manthram. Garuda BhagavAn also presented Swamy Desikan with a vigraham of Sri HayagrIvan in the Yogaasikai (seated in YogAsanam) posture.

Swamy Desikan was immensely happy with PakshirAjAn’s blessing and began to perform Sri HayagrIva Manthra japam for many days. Lord HayagrIvan was so pleased with Swamy Desikan that He appeared before latter to grant the boons of unsurpassed Pravachana sakthi, visEsha Jn~Anam on para and apara vidhyais and power to defeat the opponents in adhyAthmika saasthra debates and to raise the vijaya dhvajam of Sri Bhagavath RaamAnuja Darsanam.

Sri Hayagriva SaakshAthkAram spurred Swamy Desikan to compose on the spot the sacred HayagrIva SthOthram as his reverential tribute to the Lord of all VidhyAs for His dhivya anugraham.

The vigraham of Yoga HayagrIvan presented by Garuda BhagavAn became an ArAdhana Moorthy for Swamy Desikan along with VaradarAja PerumAL. Another Vigraham of Lord HayagrIvan presented by Goddess sarasvathi to Sri BhAshyakArar at Srinagar also reached Swamy Desikan through his AchArya paramparai. This vigraham is a Lakshmi Hayagriva Vigraham, which is today at the ParakAla matam and is the ArAdhana Moorthy of the YathIsvarALs of that Matam at Mysore. The YogAsikA Hayagrivan presented by Garudan is with Swamy Desikan at his sannidhi at ThiruvahIndhrapuram. BhakthAls have the darsanam of these two dhivya mangaLa vigrahams at the ParakAla matam web pages and at the home pages created by Sri Mani VaradarAjan for the ThiruvahIndhrapuram temple.

We will now cover the avathAram of Sri HayagrIvan and start with the first slOkam of the HayagrIva sthothram. We will focus on the first three words of the first slOkam (Jn~Anadhamayam dEvam) and relate them to the Vedic and Brahma Soothram passages that they echo.

Sri Hayagriva tattvam as understood from Swamy Desikan’s Sthuthi is so profound that it defies description. The sookshmArthams (subtle meanings) embedded in the sthuthi passages are sruthi sAram (essence of VedAs and Upanishads). It is no wonder that Swamy Desikan is known by the title of NigamAntha MahA Desikan or VedAntha Desikan.

As BhagavAn HayagrIvan appeared before him and blessed him, the twenty plus year old Sri VenktanAthan from Thuppul was elevated immediately to the noblest of AchArya Peetams. He became Swamy Desikan.

He had Isavara-SaakshathkAram of that Veda Moorthy, Sri HayagrIvan and that led to his choice of the Vedic metre Anushtup – with 32 syllables (8+8+8+8). This is one of the 64 slOkams that Swamy Desikan set in the anushtup meter. It is interesting to note that the first 10 slOkams of DayA sathakam are set in anushtup meter as well. The entire ShOdasAyudha sthOthram and the first slOkam of Garuda DaNdakam praising the Veda Moorthy is set also in Anushtup meter. Garuda BhagavAn was the One, who presented Swamy Desikan with the
archai of YogAsikaa HayagrIvan and initiated him into HayagrIva manthram This then is the context of the avathAram of the first slOkam of Sri HayagrIva SthOthram:


Jn~Anandamayam dEvam, nirmala-spatikAkruthim and AaadhAram Sarva VidhyAnAm are the key words that flowed over the tongue of Swamy Desikan.

Isvara Tattvam is captured by Swamy Desikan exquisitely through the choice of words, “Jn~Anandamayam, nirmalam, AadhAram Sarva VidhyAnAm”. These words have such powerful connotations that we will be spending a lot of time in the subsequent postings to fully comprehend the Vedic significance of these carefully chosen words by Swamy Desikan. In today’s posting, we will focus on Sri HayagrIvAvathAram.


Lord HayagrIvan is one of the avathArams of Para VaasudEvan. He is AniruddhAmsam. The day of His incarnation is AvaNi ThiruvONam. He is saluted as Sarva VaagIsvarEsvaran, Sarva Vedamayan, UdhgItha PraNava Moorthy, ChimayAnandha Roopi and VisvOtthIrNa SvarUpan in Sri HayagrIva Upanishad.

In this avathAram, the face (Thirumukha MaNdalam) alone is that of a majestic horse and the body is like that of a human, except that it is suddha Satthva Mayam. He is the embodiment of PraNavam (OmkAram). He is the First Lord of all Vidhyais.

During PraLayam, Moola Prakruthi reaches the subtle state of Tamas. The Jeevans get embedded in that Tamas and suffer very much. VyUha VaasudEvan incarnates as Aniruddhan and rests on the swirling torrent of PraLayam waters. He engages in Yoga nidhrai and reflects on how He can create the world anew and save the suffering jeevans locked in Tamas. During the Yoga Nidhrai, He creates Brahma Devan from the Lotus arising out of His Naabhi. Next, He instructs Brahma Devan on the VedhAdhyayanam and the meaning of all the Four VedAs. He also blesses Brahma Deavan on the intricacies of Srishti (Creation).

Before the creation of Brahman, His sankalpam led to the existence of two drops of water on the lotus leaf below the lotus flower. These two drops of water became the asurans Madhu with TamO GuNam and Kaitabhan with rajO guNam. They entered the lotus flower through the stem. There, BrahmA had just concluded creating four Vedas as four beautiful children. The two asurans grabbed the four babies and ran off to the nether world (PaathALam).

BrahmA was heart broken over his inconsolable loss. He could not continue with the creation of the world without the help of the VedAs, which were his eyes and guides. Brahma dEvan approached Aniruddha BhagavAn and begged for help. Aniruddhan took the form of VeLLai parimukhan (Human Body and a Horse’s face down to His neck). The hue of the avathAra moorthy was clear white like a spatikam. This is the HayagrIva Moorthy. He proceeded to the hiding place of the two asurans in PaathALam and raised the sound of UdhgItha PraNavam.
The asurans were frightened on hearing the sound of UdhgItham. They dropped the four children (Vedams) and ran towards the direction wherefrom the udhgItham originated. At that time, Sri HayagrIvan recovered the children and returned them to Brahma Devan and restarted His Yoganidhrai as HayagrIvan. The asurans ran back to where they stole the VedAs and found HayagrIvan engaged in Yoga Nidhrai. The asurans made a lot of noise and woke up the Lord. Sri Hayagrivan got up from His bed of Adhi Seshan and fought with the asurans and destroyed them. Afterwards, Sri HayagrIvan reinstructed Brahma Devan on the secrets of creation using the VedAs and returned to VyUha sthAnam.

Thus Sri Hayagrivan is aniruddhAmsam. We will cover the unique aspects of Aniruddhan as one of the Four VyUha Moorthys to understand HayagrIva tatthvam in the next section.

In this section, we will cover two items:
(1) The AniruddhAmsam of BhagavAn HayagrIvan

(2) Initiation of the discussions on understanding the “JnA~nandha-mayathvam” as Isvara Tatthva NirUpaNam by Swamy Desikan at the very beginning of his sthuthi.

AdiyEn will rely on the KaalakshEpa Granthams of asmath AchAryan, HH Srimath Azhagiya Singar, Sri NaaraayaNa YathIndhra MahA Desikan as source and inspiration for this posting.


Sri VaikuntanAthan (ThiruviNNagarappan) has immeasurable anantha kalyANa guNams in His manifestation as Para VaasudEvan. The two major categories of our Lord’s KalyANa guNams are: PARATHVAM (Supremacy) AND SOULABHYAM (ease of access by every one). The PARATHVAM of our Lord is defined mainly by His six guNams known as Upayuktha guNams:

“Jn~Anam, Balam, Isvaryam, Veeryam, Sakthi and Tejas.”

The SOULABHYAM of our Lord is defined by two more Upayuktha guNams: SOUSEELYAM and VAATHSALYAM.

Souseelya guNam permits Him to mingle even with lowly ones readily inspite of His supremacy. Vaathsalyam is the guNam of great affection for those that seek refuge in Him by overlooking the dhOshams (deficiencies) that they have.

The guNams behind Parathvam and Soulabhyam never ever disassociate themselves from the SvarUpam of our most merciful Lord. Although, these guNAs are part and parcel of His svarUpam, in specific instances, He highlights one or other of these guNAs for His upAsakAs.

As referred to before, He stays in five states. One is Paraa state, where He is resplendent as Para-VaasudEvan. The other state among these five states is VyUham. PaancharAthram is considered to have the ultimate authority in describing matters related to VyUha Moorthys.

There are positions among our PoorvAchAryAs that either accepts the VyUham state as having four VyUha Moorthys (VaasudEavn, SankarshaNan, Pradhyumnan and Aniruddhan) or onlythree Moorthys (SankarshaNan, Pradhyuman and Aniruddhan). Sri KooratthAzhwAn takes thefirst position of four VyUha Moorthys and his son; Sri ParAsara Bhattar prefers the position of three VyUha Moorthys. Sri Bhattar recognizes Para VaasudEvan as ShAdguNya Moorthy anddoes not recognize a VyUha VaasudEvan separately in his count of three VyUha Moorthys.

The general Consensus is that Para VaasudEvan has the six guNams such as Jn~Anam,Balam, Isvaryam, Veeryam, Sakthi ans Tejas (ShADguNyAth VaasudEva:). Para VaasudEvanis recognized as “Muktha BhOgyan”.

The further consensus is that all the other three vyUha Moorthys also possess these six guNAs,but they highlight only twin guNams each, which are relevant to their unique roles.SankarshaNan highlights the two guNams of Jn~Anam and Balam and is engaged in the actsof creating SaasthrAs and SamhAram (Azhitthal).

Pradhyumna VyUha Moorthy has Isvaryam and Veeryam as highlights and is engaged in the acts of Creation and the spreading of Dharmam.

AniruddhA VyUha Moorthy has Sakthi and Tejas as highlights among the six guNAs and isengaged in protection of the World and upadEsams on the Tatthvams. Hence Aniruddhan hasbeen saluted as “Sakthi tEjO Aniruddha:”. This then is the VyUha Tattvam behind Aniruddhan, who incarnated as HAYAGRIVAN for destruction of Madhu and KaiDapan (Madhusoodhanan) and for the recovery of VedAs from them for the benefit of Brahma Devan.

We have to remember always that AniruddhAmsa HayagrIvan has all the six GuNAs although; He highlights the two GuNAs (tEjas and Sakthi) for the sake of this specific avathAram. Sameis true for SankarshaNa and Pradhyumna VyUha Moorthys.

Isvara Tatthva NirUpaNam:

Swamy Desikan stresses in Sri Rahasya Thraya Saaram (Tatthva Thraya ChinthanAdhikAram) that for the proper comprehension of Isvaran, a clear understanding of the following five His GuNams are indispensable:

“Sathyathvam, Jn~Anathvam, Ananthathvam, Aanandhathvam and Amalathvam.”

Among all the limitless GuNams of the Lord, the above five GuNams prove (nirUpanam) the essential difference (VilakshaNam) between Isvaran and all the others. Thus, these fiveGuNams are known as “SvarUpa NirUpaka VisEshaNams”. The GuNams other than theabove five such as Souseelyam, Vaathsalyam and other VibhUthis are NirUpitha SvarUpaVisEshaNangaL. When one understands fully the true svarUpam of the Lord with the help ofthe five GuNams (Sathyathvam, Jn~Anathvam, Ananthathvam, Aanandhathvam andAmalathvam as SvarUpa-NirUpaka visEshanangaL), the rest of the GuNams become “NirUpitha SvarUpa VisEshaNangaL”

Swami Desikan in his HayagrIva sthOthram proves the Isvara Tatthvam of this avathAra Moorthy (AniruddhAmsan) with both SvarUpa-NirUpaka and NirUpitha SvarUpa VisEshaNangaL. This extraordinary tribute of Swamy Desikan to the two VisEshaNagaLs of Isvaran appearing before him as Sri HayagrIvan will be the topics of the subsequent postings.

As my UpAsanA Moorthy, He has blessed adiyEn many times over to create the ruchi for His PaadArchanam and manthra Japam.

Today, adiyEn reflects on this Jn~Anandamaya Moorthy and will start with the commentaries on the First slOkam of Swamy Desikan’s Sri HayagrIva Sthothram. Earlier, adiyEn referred to Swamy Desikan’s nirUpaNam of the Isvara Tatthvam of Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn. AdiyEn mentioned that the five distinguishing hallmarks of Isvarathvam –Sathyathvam, Aanandhathvam, Amalathvam, Jn~Anathvam and Ananthathvam — have been proven by Swami Desikan to reside in the Suddha-sathva Dhivya MangaLa Vigraham of Sri HayagrIvan. In this posting, adiyEn will begin the process of rolling out the Vedic and Upanishadic and other Sruthi-based references to the Isvarathvam of “VeLLai Parimukhar”.


To be continued…

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