Sri Padukasahasra is a poem in Sanskrit of one thousand and eight verses sung by the poet-philosopher Vedanta Desika in glorification of Lord Ranganatha ' s Pdduka. 'Paduka'means 'Foot-Guard.' It is the Sandal of the Lord and it is so called because it 'guards' the Lord's Foot. The very name of the author, Vedanta Desika (Teacher of Vedanta) , is an inspiration, and ensures the value of the work. He is the Teacher of Vedanta, the 'two-fold' Vedanta Ubhaya Vedanta as it is called, the Sanskrit and the Tamil. While the essence of both the Vedantas is service to God and to His servants, the emphasis of the former is on service to God and that of the latter is on service to God's servants. The author stands for and is the very embodiment of that service. The teacher was what he taught. He was in himself the very two-fold Vedanta which he taught, the very synthesis of service to God and to His servants. He reveals himself in that synthesis in the very approach to the subject. He approaches it with a humility which is matched only by the sublimity of the subject. The personality of the author is best revealed in the work. He was 'crowned' with the Lord's Paduka in His sanctuary and it was in glorification of the Paduka with which he was crowned that the poem was sung in the abundance of his abiding humility and gratitude. Directly the Paduka a concept and a ,truth Theme of the poem Paduka crowned his head, he became ecstatically inspired and expressed himself in numbers of abundant love and gratitude. He considered that the poem was inspired by Paduka, that it is the very voice of Paduka in his persona (mask), and that he served the purpose of masking the Paduka which sang its supremacy as the crown of man's head and as the guard of God's foot. The work is the expression of that ecstatic realization. Verily it is: "0 Lord! Open Thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise."
Paduka is at once a concept and a truth, mystic and real. Service to God and to God's servants is that concept and truth. Paduka in its supremacy as the 'Foot -guard ' of the Lord, is an integral personality. That personality is at once individual and social. In its individual personality it is the servant of the Lord, and the very primate of all His servants. In its social personality it is the servant of the Lord's servants in their service to the Lord, and they all together form a society of servants in mutual fellowship. In that fellowship every servant becomes equated with Paduka, and therefore, with each other in mutual service. It is the glory of that service of Paduka in individual primacy and social parity that is sung in this poem.
The poem is a theme on good life, and stands for everything that is good in life. Good life is a life that makes life worth living. It is the life of humanity integrated in Divinity. It is a life of immortality in service. It is life abundant and it is abundant as much here as in the hereafter. A life of bestiality is one which is abandoned to matter and dead to all humanity and those who live that life die a bestial death accursed in it. A life of humanity is one which is dead to bestiality and those who live that life live a blissfull life. It is a life in which the 'head' of humanity is wedded to te 'foot' of Divinity. It is an indissobluble wedding, everlasting and ever blessed. With the beginning of that wedding beings the never-ending service of man. Man serves to please God / God is pleased with man's service. He is so please with the service that in His pleasure He regards the serving man as His very compeer, comprade and friends, nay as His very self. That pleasure is his grace and in that grace, he equates His servants with His very self. That is grace and that grace is divine. Man is restored in service to his primal blessedness by the grace of god. Paduka is that service and it stands as much for that service is for the law of that service It is eternally sounding that law in the srene and immutable majesty of its march in unison with the 'Foot', which is bears and reveals in that march. Its very march is law the weill of Gid is the way of Paduka. Paduka serves as He wills, and He wills as it serves. God is the infinity of 'saving' grace and Paduka is the infinity of 'Serving love. The servant, though finite in essence, is infinite in service, and that is service infinity.
The Institute takes immense pride in publishing Srz Padukasahasra, a gem of poetic composition of Sarvatantrasvatantra , Kavitarkika Simha SrI Vedanta Desika of fourteenth century A.D. A past master in the art of poetic creativity he has made a garland of thousand and eight poems and offered it to Goddess Paduka. As is well known, Bharata prince of Ayodhya ruled the kingdom placing the Paduka of Sri Rama on the throne. His service to the Paduka all the fourteen years of Rama's exile is a moving episode in the great epic Ramayana. Bharata ruled Ayodhya on behalf of Rama under the mystic guidance of the Paduka; the kingdom was a sacred trust to him. On Sri Rama's return to Ayodhya, Bharata restores the rule to Rama by requesting him to put on the Paduka again. He states that by the power of the Paduka he was able to nurture the kingdom well. This seems to have made a deep impression in Sri Vedanta Desika , that as soon as the challenge was posed to him, regarding writing thousand verses overnight he has chosen Paduka as his subject matter. In the process he has given to the world the beautiful immortal lyric in lucid and grand style.
To Sri Vedanta Desika the Rama-Paduka is also the Paduka of Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam. Lord Ranganatha was the kuladhana of the Iksvakus, Desika developed the episode Paduka of the Ramayana into a mighty Kavya which is being chanted daily by the Vaishnavites even now.
Desika has divided his kavya into thirty-two chapters named paddhatis. Normally ten or twenty verses form a paddhati. Sometimes it goes even beyond fifty in number. Nad a Paddhati the fourteenth chapter is the longest one comprising of hundred verses. The thirtieth chapter titled Citra Paddhati stays as an evidence for the astonishing ability of Desika to compose a special type of poetry called citra or bandha. Here the letter of the verses are arranged in such a way to form enchanting diagrams like Muraja (Drum), Cakra (Discus), Padma (Lotus), Capa (Arrow) arid so on. All the more interesting are the verses composed with single letter, two letters, or three; some verses are composed as palindromes that they read the same from left to right, or right to left. Desika never repeats an idea or an image in the course of this long poem.
This grand poem has had commentaries and translations written every now and then. The Sanskrit commentary of Srinivasacarya of seventeenth century has often been published with various editions of Padukasahasra from all parts of the country.
From the South, Panditarantna Sri D.T. Tatacharya Siromani brought out word to word meaning and translation in Tamil in 1958. Abhinavadesika Sriman Uttamur T. Veeraraghavachariar, brought out a translation in 1970 and H. H. Srirangam Srimad Andavan Svami gave a translation with commentary following the original Sanskrit commentary. A Tamil trans-composition of the Kavy a entitled was brought out by Sri R. Kesava Ayyangar in 1949. An English translation with notes by D. Ramaswamy Iyengar was published serially in the Journal, Sri Rafzgantitha Paduka long ago. Quite recently Padukasahasra has been brought out with an English translation by Dr. M. Narasimhachary in the year 1998.
The present publication of the Padukasahasra by our Institute is unique for the reason that it is formed in three different languages. The original text in Sanskrit is followed by its Tamil trans-composition by Sri R. Kesava Ayyengar and English translation and notes by Sri D. Ramaswamy Iyengar. It is quite interesting to note how the translators had enjoyed the poem as much as the original writer himself. As one goes through the entire composition and the translations one can feel that the translators have also become paduka-sevakas just as Desika himself was.
As pointed out by Sri Uttamur Svami, Sri Kesava A yyangar had prefixed the translation with Kappu at the beginning and ends the work with Vinnappam and mangalam giving out the writer's name, the purpose of the translation, eulogy on Svami Desika and benediction. One has to read and enjoy the English translation by D. Ramaswamy Iyengar. The notes given by him throw light on many a convention of the Sampradaya and explain some knotty textual problems. He also records variant readings and his preferences to a particular reading with valid reasons. This book is brought out in two Volumes and is released during the Valedictory Function of the 70th anniversary of the Institute. It was the wish of our former Secretary Sri B. Madhavan that this should definitely be brought out by our Institute and we are happy his wish could be accomplished now.
The Institute has published many research papers, books and organised many lectures, seminars/ conferences on Vaishnavism. The present book is yet another contribution by our Institute in this field.
Now it is my pleasant duty to record our sense of gratitude to all the people involved in making this publication possible. Foremost among them is Sri A Rangaswami, formerly Managing Director, Lakshmi General Finance Limited who suggested publishing Padukasahasra along with the Tamil trans-composition of Sri Kesava Ayyangar and prepare an English translation by the scholars of the Institute. We are deeply indebted to him for the idea which has materialised now.
We are deeply beholden to Sri K. Parasaran, son of Sri Kesava Ayyangar, who has been much interested in this project and provided the funding for the same. He also provided us with the photo copy of his father's book. We are deeply thankful to him for his spontaneous munificence.
Dr. S. Padmanabhan deserves our gratitude for suggesting to us that it would be highly valuable if Sri Ramaswamy Iyengar's English translation were taken up for this publication. We took his advice and procured the same and the result is in the form of this book.
We offer our pranams to H. H. Srima d Srirangam Andavan (Srimusnarn) of Srirangam who benevolently acquiesced to our request to get the digitised copy of the English translation by Sri Ramaswamy Iyengar from the Library of the Mutt. We are also thankful to the Librarian of the Mutt for his kind help in this regard.
The Roja Muthaiah Research Library, Chennai provided us with the photo copy of Sri Kesava Ayyangar's Tamil text. Our thanks are due to them.
We thank Smt. K. Sandhya who typed the entire Sanskrit and Tamil text neatly and efficiently in a short time.
|Padukasahasra or The Sovereignty of Service|
|Introduction-to the English translation and notes|
|TEXT AND TRANSLATION|
|XXI||Bimba - pratibimba Paddhati||815-834|
|Appendix (Diagrams pertaining to the|
|Citra Paddhati (ch.xxx) Sanskrit & Tamil|
Item Code: NAN890 Author: Sri R. Kesava Ayyengar and Sri D. Ramaswamy Iyangar Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2017 Publisher: The Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute, Chennai ISBN: 9788185170664 Language: Sanskrit and Tamil Text With English Translation Size: 10.0 inch X 7.0 inch Pages: 1253 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 2.4 kg
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