Sri Swamigal wrote this song on 4th December 98, when he was alone in Premika Bhavanam . Sri Swamigal has always said that Srinivasa Perumal and Sri Radha Krishna are his favorite deities. This song is on Srinivasa Perumal in a village near Kumbakonam called Senganur (the historic name is Sankapuri). Our Nama Sankitana team visted this wonderful temple on their way back from Divyanama Sankirtanam at Govindapuram. This is covered in this issue's "The Month that was...".
This wonderful song rich in both poetic sense and its harmony with Sri ragam also has wonderful and rich meanings for the expressions put by Sri Swamigal. Who else can explain this song better than Sri Swamigal himself? Sri Swamigal explained the Bhavartham (the implied 'hidden' meaning as opposed to the 'verbatim' meaning) of this song to the fortunate few who happened to be present on the night on 2nd January 1999 at Premika Bhavanam during the Saturday night Divya Nama kirtanam. We shall be alluding to the history of Sankapuri and the marvelous story of Sri Periavachan Pillai - another example of the Lord's boundless grace towards his devotees. Now coming back to the story...
"Krupa samudhra..." - "Samudhram" means ocean, Ocean is so deep and none to this day could accurately gauge its depth, Ocean has almost no boundaries - all we can see is its vastness and limitlessness, when we stand at the sea shore and watch the ocean, all we see is only an infinitisimal part of the ocean and we are unable to see all of it. Bhagavan is an ocean - an ocean of grace and compassion. His grace is limitless and ungaugeable. Even the greatest manifestation of his grace, like from an Archavataram (Holy idol) is but a infinitismal part of his glory.
There are vast varieties of objects in an ocean - corals, pearls, gems, etc and a lot more not yet discovered by man. Adi Sankara was a great sage and he propounded the Advaita Philosophy (Monism), So were Sri Ramanuja who established Vishistadwaita (Qualified monism) and Sri Madhwa who propounded Dwaita philosophy (Dualism). Each of these great sages have propounded different philosophies for the same religion! There is no point arguing which of these is right, for all the three are true and all the three sages were great Mahatmas. Now seeing on the surface we may think that these contradictions may weaken our religion. But actually this goes to strengthen our religion as this goes on to show that Bhagawan cannot be fully understood even by these great souls which enhances his greatness.
One more interesting parallel, is that the ocean doesn't remain idle even for a moment and it keeps producing waves. Likewise Bhagawan showers his grace upon Jivas incessantly. The sea always tries to wet the feet of even those who stay a little away from the waves. Likewise Bhagawan tirelessly showers his grace on the souls even when the jiva tries to run away from Bhagawan's grace. While Bhagavan is adamant of showering his grace on the jiva, the Jiva is adamamnt of escaping from Bhagavan's grace! And once the soul is caught in by the Lord's grace, it is done for, for life!
"Tava Kinkarasya mama Pranesha" - Sri Swamigal pleads to accept him as a servant, as Sri Srinivasa Perumal is his 'Praneshan' (the Lord of his life)
Sri Swamigal before the temple
"Antharanga Bhaktha Hridhaya Nivasa..." - 'Antharanga Bhaktha' - Intimate devotee , Hridhaya Nivasa - resides in the heart (Resides in the heart of his close and true devotees).
Where does our Bhagawan reside? " Na aham Vasami Vaikunde, Na Yogi Hridaye Rawow, Math Bhathya yathra Gayanthi thatra thistami Narada..." (I dont reside in Vaikuntam, nor in a Yogi's heart, but I stay with my devotees who constantly sing my names and glories...). Bhagawan does not reside in Ksheerabdhi, he does not reside even in the heart of those who stay very close to the Lord's idol in the temples constantly performing Archana to him, for their minds are on materialistic matters constantly, though they are physically close to the Lord. But if a devotee truly craving for the love and devotion towards the Lord cries out his mind in a desolate spot with none watching, Lord rushes to find a place in such a true devotee's heart.
True Bhakthi is kept a closely guarded secret between the devotee and the Lord and is not a item for propaganda. Repeating the Lord's names loud in a temple to catch the attention of the crowd, or crying out with apparent devotion to get the appreciation of this world is certainly not to be confounded with true devotion. The issues with Mahatmas is entirely different, they desparately yearn to isolate themselves from this world, but the Lord keeps pushing them into the world to uplift the masses.
"Chandra Sahodari Hridaya ullasa" - ' Chandra sahodari' - Goddess Lakshmi, 'Hridaya' - in the heart, 'Ullasa' - with spontaniety, delight and splendour.
This verse is taken from Srimad Bhagavatham's Amritha Madanam. When the sea of milk was churned by Devas and Asuras for Amirtha (Ambrosia), Goddess Lakshmi came with the Moon (Chandra). So since both came from Samudhra rajan, Goddess Laksjmi is referred to here as the sister of Chandra (Moon).
We saw earlier that Lord's grace is like an ocean. The ocean brims with energetic waves during a full moon day. Similarly when the Lord is with his consort, he showers grace even more vigourously. It is in the heart of Thayar (Goddess Lakshmi) that the Lord resides with delight and splendour. Swami Desikan in his great work - daya satakam, describes Thayar's face - on one hand with her beauty and grace she casts a spell on the Lord to accept any soul coming before them and on the other hand she looks at the soul to fall at the Lord's feet.
"Siddha, Charana, Kinnara Sevitha.." - Siddha / Charana / Kinnara - they are all celestial beings above men who worship the Lord mostly during the nights, especially in temples above hills.
"Sri Mandahasa.." - Sri - Goddess Lakshmi / Peace Prosperity etc.., Mandahasa - gentle smile..
Sri Swamigal said, " When I come to you, my Lord, with a prayer, you dont have to tell me the way ; you dont have to tell me the path verbally, the smile which adorns your face is sufficient to take me right upto liberation, which indeed is the true Sri or wealth."
"Chinmaya roopa.." - The Srinivasa perumal idol is actually the Supreme Spirit personified. the direct proof to this fact is that even a hard core atheist when he sees the Srinivasa perumal in Tirupathi, gets a feeling at least to some extent of the divine presence due to the power the archavataram.
"Sanka Chakradhara Sankapuri vasa" - the Perumal in Sankapuri - Senganur has counch and discus as his ornamental weapon like in Tirupathi. The small difference in the form is hinted in the next verse.
"Sri Muralidhara Abhaya prada..." - Srinivasa perumal in Tirupathi has his right pointing to his feet (known as varada Hastham), while the perumal in Sankapuri has his right hand facing upwards symbolising his intent to protect those who look to him for shelter (Abhaya hastham).
Swamigal concludes the song with, " Sri Muralidhara Abhaya Prada" meaning " Thou hath granted protection to Sri Muralidhara."
Sri swamigal sings this song occasionally while fanning the Lord during Nitya Dolotsavam.