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This stotra is unique in several respects. In the history of religious literature, Vedanta Desika is the first poet-devotee to sing a whole hymn in praise of the Lord’s Daya (mercy, grace, sympathy and compassion are some of the meanings which that term connotes). In fact, Daya has been personified as Daya Devi and made a Consort of the Lord. The other Consorts, Lakshmi, Bhu Devi and Nila Devi are all dear to the Lord because they are reflections of Daya Devi. (36). Among all the auspicious attributes (kalyana-gunas) of the Lord, Daya is the Empress (30, 101). But for Daya’s presence, all the other gunas will virtually be dosha-s (faults) in the Lord so far as we are concerned (15), as they will all help Him only to punish us for our sins. The Lord Himself dons Daya as a protecting armour against our sins which assail Him. (28). The two chief aspects of the Lord’s supreme glory, jagat-vyaapaara and releasing souls from samsara, for which He is praised by the Vedas, are really Daya Devi’s achievements (68). Daya is defined as the Lord’s wish (iccha) to protect those in distress (71).

Slokas 1 to 100 are seen to consist of ten distinct topics from the way each set of 10 slokas is couched in a different metre (vrittam). On closer scrutiny, the ten decads (units of 10 slokas) are seen to deal with the ten topics of the ten hundreds of Nammalwar’s Tiruvaymoli as demonstrated by Desika in his Dramidopanishad Saram and Ratnavali (sevaa-yogya etc.). Those very words are used in several places in the stotra. Thus Daya Satakam is the essence of Bhagavad-vishayam, as Tiruvaymoli is called. The word Daya, or one of its synonyms such as Kripa, Anukampa or Karuna, occurs in every one of the 108 slokas except two (8 and 46).

Lord Srinivasa of the Seven Hills (Tirumalai-Tirupati) — the God of millions of men and women of Bharat who call Him Venkatesa, Govinda, Balaji and so on — is the Lord to whom this stotram is dedicated in the sense that it is His Daya that is eulogised here. For Himself, however, He has only one sloka in His praise (9) and that too in terms of His Daya as an Ocean of Mercy. Lord Srinivasa having Himself come down as Vedanta Desika, it is in the fitness of things that He does not sing about Himself. Daya is placed above the Lord in several slokas — 11, 13, 63 and 64. The Lord Himself is all admiration for the way Daya functions. It is at the command of Daya Devi that the Lord takes the several incarnations (35). The part that Daya Devi played in the several incarnations is dealt with in detail in the ninth decad of the stotra (81 to 90). Daya is but an alter ego of Sri or Lakshmi (6 and 72).

Daya Satakam is said to be the outcome of the Lord’s own Sankalpa or Will. In a happy mood the Lord gave it out through Desika, like an expert musician playing on the Veena for his own delectation (104).

वक्ता, श्रोता, वचन-विशयः, प्रीयतां वेङ्कटेशः