‘Hayagreevam Ashrayeham’

24 May

KshanArdenapi tulaye na swargam na apunarbhavam
Bhagavath sangi sangasya marthyanam kimutAshishaha

This is one sloka in Bhagavatam that can be analyzed in many different ways. It speaks about humans. Likewise in the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam there is a beautiful sloka, –

“Durlabho mAnusho Dehaha dehinAm kshana bangu raha”
“tatrApi durlabham manyae vaikunta priya darshanam”


Both the slokas speak something unique. This sloka refers to the ones who are the devotees of Bhagawan [Bhagavath Sangis] and also speaks about human beings [Martyanam]. This sloka lucidly shows that those who are in the communion [sanga] of Bhagavatas and the Lord, are not human beings. For normal mortals, the devotees of the Lord, they are verily the refugee. They are indeed not normal human beings and are Avatara Purushas, the Lord’s true incarnation. They descend down on the earth to immensely bless the normal mortals. The Jayanthi Mahotsav of one such Avatara, Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal is celebrated on Saturday, May 25th 2013 on the Vaikasi month, at the ascent of the star Anusham. This Mahatma akin to other Mahatmas was born on a Pournami day and is considered as an incarnation of Adi Shankara.  Usually Mahatmas descend either on a Pournami or Ammavasya day.  He came down to show the path of Vaidika dharma, Guru Bhakti and to show the path of renunciation [Sanyasa Dharma]. Mahaperiva was an epitome of Vairagya [determination] and Virakti [dispassion] and merely thinking of him is itself a great inspiration for all of us.  The Jayanthi of Lord Narasimha who came in the garb of half human and half lion was celebrated on Thursday, May 22nd 2013 and showed the path of bhakti. Sri Swamiji beautifully conveys the precept that the true reason for Lord Narasimha’s incarnation is for everyone to comprehend that the Lord comes only for devotion [bhakti] that was depicted in the life-history of Prahalada.

Prahalada states in his own stuti [Brahmadayascha munayaha] “Oh Lord! when there are so many devotees like Brahma, Lord Shiva who sing the praises of Lord Vishnu in all flowery language, you have come down for me, who took this uncouth birth as an Asura”.


Narasimha Jayanthi also marks the Aradhana of another great Mahatma Alangudi Mahaperiva, who is a descendant of the Lord on the earth who propagated the path of Bhagavatam. He was in Mudikondan and is Samadhi is also in Mudikondan and his Aradana was on the day of Narasimha Jayanthi. The greatness of this Mahatma is that he breathed  Bhagavatam. He was a devotee Lord Narasimha. He started to read Bhagavatam at a very young age. Alangudi Mahaperivas life-history depicts all the incidents portrayed in Bhagavatam, right from the story of Narada, all the way to Gajendra and Sri Suka. He could be considered as an incarnation of all the Bhagavatas and Mahatmas shown in Bhagavtam. He is an manifestation of Sage Narada, Sri Suka, Sri Gajendra, King Parikshit, Lord Rama and Krishna and other Mahatmas in Bhagavatam can be compared and attributed to the incarnation of Alangudi Mahaperiva. Such was his life and he had immense determination and  taste for Bhagavata Dharma and Bhagvatam.  Akin to Sage Narada’s life, he embraced the path of Sanyasa and even in his life, his family was removed from him automatically. Just like how Sage Narda says, “Deiva Chorithaha”, the same kind of events, happened in this Mahatma’s life as well. He took Sanyasa and was initiated into Narasimha Mantra, and was blessed with the divine darshan[shakshatkara] of Lord Narasimha. He would be so immersed when reading Narasimha avatar in Bhagavatam that he will become Prahalada itself.  It has to be remembered that this Mahatma lived few years ago  only. It is an honor and indeed very auspicious to reminisce such Mahatmas as we do a satsang, because by merely reminiscing such Mahatmas ushers peace, happiness and prosperity in our lives.


Hayagriva is an incarnation of the Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam speaks about this incarnation. Sri Vijayagopalaswamy, in his kirtans when he speaks about Lord Krishna, he beautifully says that it is Lord Krishna who took the avatar of Hayagriva, akin to how Sri Jayadeva sings that it is verily Keshava who took the remaining nine avatars.

“Madhu KaiTabha samhara Krishna” – The Lord incarnated as Hayagriva to destroy the demons Madhu and KaiTabha. The Vedas once escaped out of Lord Brahma and they were stolen by these two demons, Madhu and KaiTabha. The Lord incarnated as Hayagriva to retrieve back the Vedas and restore it back to Lord Brahma. This is evident from Akrura’s Stuthi where he speaks of Hayagriva’s incarnation in a very subtle manner. We see these various different precepts revealed in myriad ways. There is no separate chapter that delineates on the Lord’s manifestation as Hayagriva. When Akrura sings about the greatness of Krishna, he brings Krishna and Balarama in a chariot to Mathura for the killing of Kamsa. Akrura confided Kamsa’s plan to Krishna of killing him. As they were enroute Mathura, Akrura stopped by the banks of river Yamuna to do his evening ablutions leaving Krishna and Balarama in the chariot. The moment he dipped himself in Yamuna, he was bestowed with a darshan of beautiful form of the Lord as perceived in Vaikuntam. As he lifted his head from the water, he saw Lord Krishna smiling at him and as he dipped in the waters again, he again saw the beautiful countenance of the Lord. It was indeed a bout of compassion bestowed by Lord Krishna on his devotee Akrura and he came out of the water enthralled and chants the following sloka –

natosmyaham tvAkhila hetu hetum nArAyaṇam pUruṣam Adyam avyayam |
yan nAbhi jAtAd aravinda koṣAd brahmAvirAsId yata eṣa lokaḥ || [Srimad Bhagavatam 10.40.1]

He starts speaking of the Lord’s infinite avatars. The reason he talks about the Lord’s incarnation is so that he can speak about the Lord’s manifestation for his sake as well.  He says “Oh Lord! At the beginning, when there was no time, it was verily you who was present and that you were the primordial being and cause  for all causes [tvam akhila yethum yethum] and from your navel blossomed a beautiful lotus and on it Lord Brahma was sitting and he created the universe drawing instructions from you”. Akrura goes to speak of the other avatars of the Lord that he took the incarnated as a fish and swam in the waters of deluge to protect the Vedas and the most required things on the earth.

namaḥ kAraṇa matsyAya pralayAbdhi charAya cha
hayasirṣhṇe namas tubhyam madhu kaiṭabha mṛutyave

akUpArAya bṛuhate namo mandara dhAriṇe
kṣithy uddhAra vihArAya namaḥ shUkara mUrtaye[Srimad Bhagavatam 10.40.17-18]


He then speaks about the incarnation of the Lord, which had the resemblance of the horse face and neck. Akrura subtly glorifies the incarnation of the Lord as Hayagriva, who came to kill Madhu and KaiTabha who stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma.  He then talks about the incarnation as a wild boar [shUkara mUrtaye], who joyfully lifted the earth thus protecting it and went on to glorify the Lord’s ten avatars in addition to the Lord’s incarnation as Hayagriva.

Hayagriva is one of the rarest incarnations of the Lord since he bestows knowledge even to Goddess Saraswathi and Lord Brahma. “Gnanananda Mayam devam nirmala spatika kruthim aadharam sarva vidyanam hayagrivam upasmahe”. Sri Swamiji’s kirtan on Hayagriva of Thriuvahindrapuram – hayagrIvamAshrayeham”. Thiruvahindrapuram(Devanathapuram) is very dear to Sri Swamiji, verily because it is his place of incarnation. It is situated between Cuddalore and Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. The deity of this divine place is Hemambujavalli sametha Sri Devanathaswamy. Hayagriva’s divine abode is also Thiruvahindrapuram. He sits on a hillock called Oushadagiri, right next to Thiruvahindrapuram. One of the greatest Acharyas of Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya , Sri Vedanta Desika Swami, known as Venkatanata hailed  from Thippul [Kanchipuram] has a very strong connection to Thiruvanhindrapuram. At the age of 27, he was an adept scholar and had mastered the true knowledge [aparoksha jnana] and was beyond any comparison.

Once, Desika Swami’s Guru Apular who is also known as Kidambi Achan ordained him to embark on a journey to Thiruvahindrapuram and meditate on Lord Garuda. He initiated him with Garuda mantra and requested him to meditate on Garuda in Thiruvanhindrapuram. It is said that Lord Garuda established Thirvahindrapuram and so it is also known as ‘Garuda Kshetram’. Desika Swami set out to Thiruvahindrapuram and meditated on Lord Garuda. Immensely pleased with Desika Swami’s meditation Lord Garuda presented himself before Swami and blessed him with Hayagriva mantra. Swami started to meditate on Hayagriva mantra and after several avartis of Hayagriva mantra, Lord Hayagriva bestowed Swami with his darshan and blessed him with all sorts of knowledge and also presented himself in the form of an ‘Archa Murthi’ to Deiska Swami. That is verily the reason why Hayagriva shrine [Sannidhi] is seen in temples along with Desikan Swami. The works of Desikan are so wonderful  verily because of the benediction from Lord Hayagriva.


Akin to how Varaha [Shukara] is the Lord for education as seen from Srimad Bhagavatam [vidya guravae namaha]. Lord Hayagriva is also the Lord of education [Vidya] in all forms. The beauty of Hayagriva in Thiruvanhindrapuram is a Yoga Murti. Normally deities atop a hill are Yoga Murtis.  Deities are of many types; – Veera Murthy, Boga Murthy, Yoga Murthy and so on. Boga Murthy is one who can bestow anything his devotees’ desire. Yoga Murthy bestows one with not anything he/she prays for but mental peace and concentration of the mind. A devotees Yoga will reap full benefit if he/she goes and meditates in the sanctum sanctorum of a Yoga Murthy. Usually Yoga Murthis are by themselves and not reside with their consort. The beauty of Hayagriva shrine in Oushadagiri is that he has Goddess Lakshmi on his left side [Vama baham], akin to Mother Sita residing on the left side of Lord Rama in Bhadrachalam.

He is considered as a Yoga Murthy inspite of having the divine mother on his left side – lakshmyAlingatavAmabhAjam

lokarakshakam yogadaivatam ”

parvatavAsinam prasannasvarUpam
bavabayaharam jnAnasavarUpam (hayagrIvam)

shAntamuralIdharavidyAshikshaNam (hayagrIvam)

Sri Swamiji in this kirtan sings that it was Hayagriva who bestowed all the knowledge on him. The greatness of Lord Hayagriva is very evident in Madhwa tradition [Sampradaya]. Vadiraja was the fore most disciple of Sri Vyasaraya. Vadiraja Swami was a great devotee of Lord Hayagriva and how he became an ardent devotee of Hayagriva is quite interesting.



Vyasaraya Swami was imparting knowledge to Vaadiraja on various scriptures and puranas. However, Vadiraja swami felt that he was not able to retain all that was taught by his guru. He went and approached his Guru and confided his problem and requested him to suggest a way to alleivate his problem. His Guru then initated him with a Hayagriva mantra and asked him to meditate on Hayagriva. Vadiraja Swami implicitly obeyed the orders of his Guru and went to do penance on Lord Hayagriva. He was also bestowed with the divine darshan of Lord Hayagriva akin to Vedanta Desika Swami. The form that Lord Hayagriva presented to Vadiraja was extremely beautiful.


suddha spatika shankasam shanka chakra dhrama prabhum

chinmudrAnkita hastam cha hayagrivam krupa nidim

srivatsa koustubha dharam brahma rudrAdi sevitam 

divya peethambharadharam deena vatsalam achyutham

vilokya vadirajopi dharshana nanda mohitaha

papatha charano panthe dandavaktre ma poorvakam


He had a shining luster with a glowing Pithambara on his hips and had shanka and chakra in his hands. Vadiraja Swami immediately prostrated unto Lord Hayagriva, who then took his right hand [ Abhaya hastam] and placed it on Vadiraja Swami’s head and bestowed him with all knowledge

vinyasya abhaya hastam tasaiva shirasir prabhuhu krupa kataksham vidadae sarva moha vinashakam

From that moment, Vadiraja Swami became a devotee of Lord Hayagriva. Even today in MAdhwa sampradaya, we can percveive Vadiraja holding the feet of the horse on his shoulders and placed a bowl on his head. The term ‘Haya’ connotes horse and it is believed that the Lord would come in the form with horse’s face and neck and bend down and take the offerings of Vadiraja Swami every day. This photo of Vadiraja Swami can be seen in Sodhe Mutt.

Vadiraja composed various literary works after being blessed by Lord Hayagriva. He was also proclaimed to be the musician in Krishnadevaraya’s court and was one of the proponents of Dwaitha philosophy.


One of his kirtan compostiions is “Bega Baro’ and his Mudra is ‘Hayavadana’ which means Hayagriva.

hayyA vijaya sahAya bEga bArO uragAdrivAsa hayavadana bEga bArO


“Uraga” means snake and Uragadiri means hill with a snake which is verily Seshachala [Tirupati] and refers to the Lord of Tirupati.  Uragadri also refers to Thiruvahindrapuram, since ‘Ahi’ connotes snake and it can be interpreted that Vadiraja Swami also sings on Lord Hayagriva in Thiruvahindrapuram, on the same Lord whom Sri Swamiji has composed this wonderful kirtan – ‘hayagrIvamAshrayeham‘.


The satsang closed with prayers and Namasankirtan.


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