Ashtabhuja Ashtakam

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This stotra and the four stotras that follow are in praise of the Deities adorning five shrines in or about Kanchipuram. All of them except Saranagati Deepika are very short ones. Two of them, this and number 11, are ashtakams (eight slokas).

The name Ashtabhujam is the Sanskrit for Attapuyakaram by which name Peyalwar and Tirumangai Alvar have referred to the Lord of this shrine. The word means one with 8 hands. In sloka 10 Vedanta Desika attributes the doubling of the Lord’s hands (from four to eight) to the Lord’s hurry and eagerness to afford protection to those who have sought refuge in Him. May that Lord be pleased to receive this stuti of eight slokas composed by me — is the idea contained in the same sloka.

The first sloka prays for help preferred promptly as in the case of Gajendra. I am in the same plight — nay, in a worse one because Gajendra was assailed by one crocodile, while I am assailed by several. The reference to the Gajendra episode here is based on Peyalvar’s verse 99 of his Prabandham.

This stotra it is stated will be of help to those who have performed prapatti and become prapannas, and also to those who desire to become prapannas (9). The “tvara” of the Lord to protect those in distress, i.e., the avidity and the hurry finds mention in the first and last slokas.

वक्ता, श्रोता, वचन-विशयः, प्रीयतां वेङ्कटेशः