ANNOTATED COMMENTARY IN ENGLISH BY:
OPPILIAPPAN KOIL SRI VARADACHARI SATHAKOPAN
A half mile away in the South Easterly direction of Thuppul (the birth place of Swami
Desikan), lies the Divya Desam of ThiruvELukkai, where Kama Aasikaa Narasimhan
is the presiding deity. He is also known as Mukunda Nayakan.
Swami Desikan composed a beautiful Ashtakam in honor of this Narasimhan, who is
sitting in a Yogic posture on the southern side of Vegavathi River. This Archa Murthy
has been the object of earlier Mangalasaasanam by Pey Azhwaar through three
pasurams of the Third Thiruvanthadhi and one pasuram line of Thirumangai in his
“SrI Kaamaasika Nrusimhan – ThiruvELukkai”
At ThiruvELukkai, the Moolavar sits in the middle of the temple tank known as
Kanaka Pushkarini. He is not easily approachable for worship. The Uthsavar and His
Piratti (ThiruvELukkai Valli) are standing under the Kanaka Vimanam. The
Moolavar (Kaamaasikaa Narasimhan) is seated in the Yoga Pose known as Paryanga
Bhandham. The Lord of this Divya Desam got his name Kamaasikaa Narasimhan
because he chose the banks of Vegavathi out of his own desire/sankalpam (Kama) to
be seated (Aasikaa) on the banks of the Vegavathi river. The Tamil name of
ThiruvELukkai follows this Sanskritic nomenclature. The shorter name of vELukkai
stands for vEL Veeru Irukkai. The word VeL relates to the Kama or svath Sankalpam
aspect of the Lord's own desire to sit (Veeru Irukkai) at this Divya Desam. Swami
Desikan says that Narasimhan left Sri Vaikuntam out of His own will and chose to sit
on the sandy banks of Vegavathi at ThiruvELukkai Kshetram.
VERSE 1: PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THE WONDOROUS
SRUTEENAAM UTTARAM BHAGAM VEGAVATHYAASCCHA DAKSHINAM I
KAAMAATH ADHIVASAN JEEYAATH KASCCHITH ADHBHUTA KESAREE II
“Adbhuta Kesari – Ahobilam”
Here Swami Desikan describes the Bhagavaan as “Kascchit Adhbhuta Kesari”.
This incomparable form of the Lord with a Lion's face and human body is indeed
awesome and full of wonders. Hence it is a Adbhuta Kesari (Lion). It is neither Lion
nor man. This Adhbhuta Kesari is celebrated in the last section of the Vedas (i.e) in
the Upanishads as suggested by Swami Desikan through the Choice of Words,
“Srutheenaam Uttaram Bhagam”.
He chose out of his own volition the site of ThiruvELukkai and resides there on the southern bank of Vegavathi river as indicated by the stotra Vaakyams (Kaamaath Vegavathyaa: Dakshinam cha Adhivasan). Swami offers his Mangalaasaasanam to this Adbhuta Kesari and hails him to thrive there (Jeeyaath) in His supreme glory. May this Kamaasika Narasimhan known for his infallibility in protecting his devotees thrive at ThiruvELukkai is the prayer of the Acharya.
VERSE 2: PRAYER FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE THREE
KINDS OF AFFLICTIONS
TAPANENDHI AGNI NAYANA: TAAPAAN APACHINOTHU NA: I
TAAPANEEYA RAHASYAANAAM SAARA: KAAMAASIKAA HARI: II
Swami Desikan reveals to us that Kaamaasikaa Narasimhan has three eyes, which are
in the form of the Sun, Moon and Agni. “mukkaNNappan..”
He says that the Lord of this Divya Desam is the essence of the secrets revealed by
Nrusimha Taapaneeya Upanishad. Swami prays for the Lord to banish the three
kinds of Taapas (afflictions) of all of us with His three eyes. The three afflictions are
Aadhyaatmikam (physical ills, fear, anger, desire et al), Aadhi Bhowdikham (Ills
caused by animals and humans) and Aadhi Daivikam (Cold, heat, storms, rains et
VERSE 3 : SALUTATIONS TO KANTIRAVAN
AAKANTAM AADHI PURUSHAM KANTIRAVAM UPARI KUNTITHA AARAADHITAM I
VEGAA UPAKANTA SANGHATH VIMUKTHA VAIKUNTA BAHUMATHIM UPAASEH II
“Nara-singam, after HiraNya vadham”
The Lord of ThiruvELukkai has the face of the Lion above his neck and the form of
the ancient Purusha below the neck. I salute that extraordinary form of Kaamaasikaaa Narasimhan, who destroyed Hiranyan and chose the region on the banks of Vegavathi for his permanent residence and in that process skipped over the established glories of Sri Vaikuntam.
VERSE 4: EULOGY TO NARASIMHAN
BHANTHUM AKILASYA JANTHOH: BHANDHURA PARYANKA BHANDHA RAMANEEYAM I
VISHAMA VILOCHANAM EEDEH VEGAVATHEE PULINA KELI NARASIMHAM II
“Paryanga bhandam – akkArakkani Emperumaan of Sholingur”
Swami Desikan praises Narasimhan of this Kshethram, who loves to play on the sand
banks of the river Vegavathi. He recognizes the Lord as the kith and kin of all living
beings. He visualizes the Lord as sitting firmly in the Yoga Posture known as
Parynga Bhandham. He also pays his tribute to the Vishama Vilochanam of the Lord.
Vishama Vilochanam can mean both odd numbered eyes (Three here) and the eyes,
which are distinctly different in their attributes (Hot Sun, Cool Moon and resplendent
VERSE 5: PRAYER FOR BLESSINGS TO THE WORLD
SVASTHAANESHU MARUT GANAAN NIYAMAYAN SVAADHINA SARVENDRIYA:
PARYANGA STIRA DHARANAA PRAKATITHA PRATYANGH MUKHAAVASTHITHI:
PRAAYENA PRANIPEDHUSHAAM PRABHURASAOU YOGAM NIJAM SIKSHAYAN
KAAMAA NATHANUTAAT ASESHAA JAGATHAAM KAAMAASIKAA KESARI:
In this verse set in the majestic Sarthoola Vikriditham meter to remind one of the
powerful movements of the fast lion chasing Hiranya, Swami Desikan prays to
Kaamaasikaa Narasimhan to bless the people of the world and grant them all their
desired boons (Asaou. Kaamaasikaa Kesari: Asesha Jagathaam kaaman
aatanuthaath). Swami describes the Lord facing west. He sits in Paryangaasanam at
ThiruvELukkai and appears in his Yogic posture giving the impression that He is
ready to teach His devotees the secrets of Yoga that require knowledge about the
firm control of the five vayus (Praanan, Apaanam, Samaanam, Udhaanam and
Vyaanam). He also appears to indicate to them the firm way to control the five
Karmendriyaas and the five Jnanendriyaas as the prerequisite to meditate on Him.
One of the names for Lord Narasimhan is Hrishikesan or the one who has full
control over his Indriyaas. Kamasikaa Narasimhan’s Paryangaasanam (Yoga Pattai
with a belt over his crossed legs and knees) reminds of His Yogaacharya role in
teaching his disciples such as Prahlaada the secrets of Yoga to attain His blessings.
VERSE 6: PRAYER TO THE LORD'S HANDS FOR
VIKASWARA NAKA SVARUKSHATHA HIRANYA VAKSHASTHALEE--
NIRARGALA VINIRGALATH RUDIRA SINDHU SANDHYAAYITAA: I
AVANTHU MADA NAASIKAA MANUJA PANCHA VAKTHRASYA MAAM
AHAMPRATAMIKAA MITA: PRATITAAHAVAA BAAHAVA: II
May the Kaamaasikaa Narasimhan’s hands having the red lustre of the dusk protect
me. Those hands compete with one another to protect the devotee and to destroy the
enemies of the devotee. The shining fingernails of those hands tore apart the chest of
Hiranyan like the ferocious Vajra weapon. At that time, the blood from the heart of
Hiranyan gushed forth and covered the hands of the Lord and gave them the red hue
of the sun at dusk. Those hands were competing with one another to destroy
Hiranyan as well as to comfort the child Bhagavatha Prahlada. May those powerful
hands protect me always!
“His hands compete with one another to protect devotees-
VERSE 7: MERCY OF THE LORD EVEN DURING HIS
SATAA PATALA BHEESHANEH SARABHASAATTAHAASOTHBHATEH
SPURATH KRUTHI PARISPUTATH BRUGUTIKEPI VAKTREH KRTEH I
KRUPAA KAPATA KESARIN DHANUJA DIMBHA DHATTA STHANAA
SAROJA SADHRUSAA DRUSAA VYATHIBISHAJYA TEH VYAJYATEH II
Oh Kapata Narasimha! Oh Lord, who did not swerve away from the boons given to
Hiranya and yet hoodwinked him through your avatara features! When You
appeared out of the Pillar in his palace with the frightening swirl of your manes and
ear-shattering roars, your brows were twittering with your mighty anger at Hiranya
for the injustices that he did to your devotee. Even in that state of fury, your lotus
eyes fell with mercy on Prahlaada. Those merciful glances were like the feedings of
divine and invigorating milk to the child Prahlaada. Your limitless compassion to
your devotees became evident then.
VERSE 8: SARANAGATHI AT THE FEET OF NARASIMHAN
TVAYI RAKSHATHI RAKSHAKAI: KIM ANYAI: TVAYI CHAARAKSHATI RAKSHAKAI: KIM ANYAI: I
ITHI NISCHITA DHEE: SRAYAAMI NITYAM NRUHAREH: VEGAVATHEE TATAASRAYAM TVAAM II
O kaamaasikaa Narasimhaa! You are sarva sakthan. When You are resolved to protect some one, where is the need to seek the protection of other Gods? When You are resolved NOT to protect some one, which other God is capable of protecting us? There is no one. Knowing this fundamental truth, I have resolved to offer my
saranaagathi at your lotus feet alone that rest at the banks of Vegavathi river.
VERSE 9: PHALA SRUTHI OF THIS ASHTAKAM
ITTAM STHUTHA: SAKRUTHIHAASHTABHIRESHA PADHYAI:
SRI VENKATESA RACHITHAI: TRIDHASENDRA VANDHYA: I
DHURDHAANTA GORA DHURITA DVIRADHENDRA BHEDEE
KAAMAASIKAA NARAHARI: VITANOTHU KAAMAAN II
May Kaamaasikaa Narasimhan, who is worshipped by the Devaas and who tears
apart the gigantic heap of sins, as if they are opposing elephants, grant all the desired
boons to devotees, who recite these eight slokas on Him composed by Venkatesa
This stotram is about SrI nar*simha mUrti in the divya kshetram in kA~nci by
name vELukkai or veL irukkai. vEL in tamizh means "by One's own will";
irukkai means to be seated or to be located. Since perumAL made this His
place by His own will, the place is called tiru vEL irukkai. The samskr*t
name of this stotram echoes the same meaning - kAma - by His own will, AsikA
- being seated, ashTakam - consisting of 8 Sloka-s. PerumAL's name here is
kAmAsikA narasimhan. svAmi deSikan refers to this emperumAn as kAmAsikA
harih and kAmAsikA kesarih in this stotram.
In tiruvELukkai, bhagavAn is in the yoga narasimha form and is seated in the
yogic posture of parya~nka bandha. He has three eyes in His narasimha form
in this kshetra. svAmi deSikan points out that His being seated in the
yogic posture of parya~nka bandham suggests that He is seated with the
determination to help all His devotees (Slokam 4), and
this posture in order to give live instruction to all of us on how to
perform yoga in order to attain Him (Slokam 5 - prAyeNa praNipedushAm
prabhurasau yogam nijam Sikshayan).
Even though the point should have been obvious, it is worth pointing out
that the AcArya's stotra-s, in addition to praising bhagavAn and giving us
an easy way of chanting His guNa-s, seem to have as one of their objectives
the propagation of the basic tenets of SrIvaishNavism by repeatedly
re-emphasizing and re-stating them in storam after stotram. Thus we see in
this storam also svAmi deSikan bring out out several basic aspects of his
and our pUrvAcAryas' teachings. These are:
1. He is the object of the uttara bhAga (final part) of the veda-s, viz. the
upanishad-s (Slokam 1).
2. bhagavAn is the only one who can remove our tApa-traya-s. These tApa-s
are referred to by svAmi deSikan in SaraNAgati dIpikA Slokam 23 - tApatryeNa
vihatim na bhajanti santah etc. In the current Slokam, svAmi deSikan prays
to kAmAsikA harih, the perumAL of this keshetram, to burn the three tApas-s
that result from samsAra with his three eyes (the sun, the moon, and agni).
The tApa-s are: a) AdhyAtmikam - belonging to to the individual, such as
headache, cold, anger, desire, fear, etc. b) Adhi bhaudikam --those
resulting from other bhUta-s such as the birds, animals, other people etc.,
and c) Adhi daivikam - those resulting from devatA-s such as from the wind,
sun, rain, etc.
3. He appears in His arcA mUrti form in many of these divya-kshetra-s out of
His sheer Mercy towards us, just so that He is easily accessible to us. It
is as if bhagavAn gave up the great regard for SrI viakuNTha vAsam (vimukta
vaikunTha bahumatim) so that He can be a nitya vAsi in this beautiful
kshetram and be accessible to all of us (Slokam 3).
His vibhava incarnations are for the purpose of destroying His enemies and
protecting His devotees. Thus, in His narasimha incarnation, He came to
protect prhalAda and other devotees from hiraNyakaSipu. This is one of the
rahasya-s of His incarnations. This is explained by svAmi deSikan in
SaraNAgati dIpikA Slokam 17 (AtmIya rakshaNa, vipaksha vinASanArthaih). In
the current stotram, he praises this aspect of bhagavAn and seeks His
protection. He has the anubhavam of kAmAsikA narasimhan's hands fighting
with each other in their desire to perform this function (aham prathamikA
mithah prakaTita AhavAh bAhavah - Slokam 6).
4. bhagavAn is the only true relative we all have (bandhum akhilasya
jantoh). All the other relatives such as father, mother, etc. are only
transient relatives, and are related this way purely because of our mutual
karma-s (Slokam 4).
5. bhagavAn is the one who assigns functions to, and controls, all the other
devatA-s so that they perform their assigned duties without violation
(sva-sthAneshu marud-gaNAn niyamayan - Slokam 5). This has been referred by
svAmi deSikan in abhIti stavam Slokam 4 also (marut taraNi pAvaka tridaSa
nAtha kAlAdayah svakr*tyam adhikurvate tadaparAdhato bibhyatah).
bhagavAn is also the One who controls all our indriya-s (svAdhIna
sarvendriyah). His nAma of hr*shIkeSa signifies this.
6. bhavAn's anger knows no limits when anyone commits apacAram towards His
devotee. The narasimha incarnation is a typical example of this. svAmi
deSikan describes through almost identical Sloka-s in dayA Satakam Slokam 84
and Slokam 7 in the current stotra, His making His appearance reflect His
intense anger towards His devotee's enemy.
However, the wonder of bhagavAn's leelA is that at the same time His
appearance reflects intense anger towards hiraNyakaSipu, He makes His
appearance to prahlAda one of intense Mercy and kindness reflecting that of
a mother feeding her young child (datta sthanA saroja sadr*SA dr*SA samudita
Akr*tir-dr*Syate - dayA Satakam, datta sthanA saroja sadr*SA dr*SA
vyatibhishajya te vyajyate in the current stotram). Such is the nature of
His kr*pA or dayA to His devotees.
7. bhagavAn is the only one who can protect us. If He does not protect us
no one else can protect us, and if He decides to protect us, we don't need
anyone else's protection. This concept is conveyed in Slokam 8 - tvayi
rakshati rakshakaih kim ananyaih, tvayi ca arakshati rakshakaih kim
ananyaih. The same idea was conveyed in SrI ashTabhujAshTakam Sloka-s 5 and
6: bhayam kutah syAt tvayi sAnukampe, rakshA kutah syAt tvayi jAtaroshe
(Slokam 5), and tvayi pravr*tte mama kim prayAsaih, tvayyapravr*tte mama kim
prayAsaih (Slokam 6). This is the basis of goptr*tva varaNam (the
deliberate choice of bhagavAn as the Sole Protector) which is one of the
a~nga-s of prapatti.
8. In the ninth and final Slokam of SrI kAmAsikAshTakam svAmi deSikan
reminds us that if one chants this stotram even once with faith and with
devotion, bhagavAn will forgive their sins even if they be huge like
elephants, and will bestow any benefits that the devotee seeks. It appears
svAmi deSikan intentionally chose to compare our sins to huge 'elephants',
since it is the kAmAsikA kesari (lion) who is going to eliminate the sins.