Bhagavad Dhyana Sopanam

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This is a Stotra patterned upon a Prabandham (Alvar’s work in Tamil). It is in praise of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. Tiruppaan Alvar was vouchsafed a vision of that great God, and he has sung about what he then saw, in ten verses. Vedanta Desika enjoys the same Tirumeni (Sacred Body) of the same Sleeping Beauty in the same manner, i.e., from the Feet to the Head; but the enjoyment here is mental dhyaanam or contemplation.

Sopaanam means steps — the several stages from the Feet to the Head (slokas 2 to 9). Sloka 10 recapitulates those eight angas (parts of the body) and incidentally gives a new meaning to Ashtaanga-yogam. Sloka 11 refers to the utsava murti — the Smiling Beauty standing in front of the Moola-Viraat reclining on the Adisesha (Serpent Couch). The last one of course is the phalasruti.

In all the twelve slokas of the Stotra, there is reference to the mind, chinta, maneeshaa and so on. Is not dhyaanam a mental process? That the dhyaanam (contemplation) has been fruitful is indicated by slokas 1 and 11. What was seen in Rangam in sloka 1 is said to reside in Desika’s heart (11).

वक्ता, श्रोता, वचन-विशयः, प्रीयतां वेङ्कटेशः