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Lakshmi Hayagriva

By

Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

About the Author: Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are popular in “The Young World section” of THE HINDU His e-books on nature, environment, festivals and different cultures of people around the world are educative and of special interest to the young. His e-books – Guide to 108 Divya Desams, Guide to 275 Siva Sthalams, Ganesha, Muruga, Pilgrimage to Narasimhaswami shetrams, Tirupati Gangamma, Vision of Sri Madhwacharya and Guru Raghavendra, The Path of Ramanuja, Guide to Kancheepuram, Hanuman and Hinduism in a nutshell have been well received in the religious circle. He was associated in the renovation and production of two Documentary films on Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.

Acknowledgement: I wish to express my gratitude to the authors from whose works I gathered the details for this book, and Courtesy, Google for some of the photographs. Special thanks to www.scribd.com for hosting my e-books.

As per Hindu scripures Hayagriva is also considered an Avatara of Lord Vishnu. He is worshipped as the God of wisdon and knowledge, with a human body and a horse's head, seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness. As per the Vaishnava tradition Hayagriva is a very important deity. His blessings are sought when one begins the study of both sacred and secular subjects. Special worship for Hayagriva is being conducted on SravanaPaurnami, the fullmoon day falling during the month of August, which is considered the day of His avatara. Hayagriva is also hailed as "Hayasirsa". (Haya means Horse, and Sirsa means Head.) An important verse in the Pancharatra Agamas Gyananananda-mayam devam nirmala-sphatikakritim Adharam sarvavidyanaam hayagrivam upasmahe! is now popularly prefixed to the Hayagriva Stotram of poet-philosopher Vedanta Desikar. Sri Hayagreevan is being referred to as Madhusoodhanan in the Brahmanda purana : Om namo Vishnave Deva Madhussodhanathe Namah. Since, Lord Hayagreevar killed the asuras, madhu and kaitapar, He is referred to as Madhusoodhanan. In Valmiki Ramayanam Balakandam, ( in the 17th sloka of 76th sarga ) Parasuraama says to Rama "akshayam madhuhanthaaram jaanaami tvaam survotthamam". I realise that You are the Devaadhi Deva, immortal, Maha Vishnu, the One who killed madhu, kaitapar. Rama before proceeding for His Pattabhishekham, pays obeisance to Lord Hayagreevan "dhushtaava praNadhaischaiva sirasaa madhsoodhanam" (6th sargam-7th slokam). In Kishkinthaa kaandam, Vaali tells Sri Rama "Even if that Ravana hids Sita in PaathaaLa lokam, no problem. You could have just told me so. I world have brought Sita back from anywhere wheresoever like Sri Hayagreeva brought the Vedas killing Madhukaitapar”. (17th sargam-49th slokam) Sri Mahabharatham, Santhi parvam mentions Haygreeva avataara and Sri Hayagreevopanishad, elaborates the greatness of Haygreevar.

Sri Vedantha Desika’s dhyana-sloka (meditative verse) on Hayagriva typifies this deity's depiction in Hindu iconography as one who has four lotus hands, with one in the mode of bestowing knowledge; another holding books of wisdom, and the other two hold the Conch and Discus. His beauty, like fresh cut crystal, is an auspicious brilliance that never decays. He prays “May this Lord of speech who showers such cooling rays of grace on me be forever manifest in my heart”. Hayagreeva is associated with the purity of knowledge and is represented in the same way as Saraswati. White is a symbolism of purity that is depicted in the "white horse" face he adorns Sri Hayagriva Avataram Long ago, Vishnu who is also known as Janardhana, had waged a war lasting sixteen thousand years with the Asuras. At the end of the battle, overcome with fatigue, he went to sleep, in a standing posture, with his head supported by the tip of his peerless bow. As fate would have it, he fell into a really deep sleep, unaware of his surroundings and stood as one whose life had become extinct. When the Devas and the divine sages beheld this, they grew very worried. For who would protect the world if the great protector is sleeping? Besides, for the Yagna (sacrifice) to be conducted in heaven, Vishnu's presence was essential. Even Brahma and Shiva who were present, were concerned about Vishnu's state. Indra supplicated himself before Shiva and said, "O Lord, the world is descending into chaos as Janardhana, also known as Hari, is deep in slumber. It is also time for the great sacrifice to be conducted by us, but the Lord of the sacrifice is asleep. Please help us!". Shiva turned to Brahma and said, "The scriptures say that waking someone who is in deep sleep is a great sin. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Among your myriad creations, I remember that there was a tiny beetle, belonging to the Chel species. Let it eat the bowstring from the bottom. When the bow recoils from its tense state, the noise will wake Vishnu up." Accordingly Brahma commanded the insect to break the bowstring. When the string broke, the bow snapped erect with a noise, that sounded like that made at the end of the world. All those present were frightened by that terrible sound. Ill omens appeared in the air. The sun sank before its appointed time. All creation started acting in a manner inconsistent with

their normal behavior. When the Devas looked to see if Vishnu had woken, a gory sight met their eyes. The recoiling bow tip had beheaded Vishnu! Only his lifeless torso stood there, a grim sight that shook the beholders to the core of their being. Brahma said, "The only thing we can do during this evil time, is to pray to Devi. She is the life force behind the universe. Everything that happens is according to her will. If Vishnu has been beheaded, she must have caused it to happen. Only she can show us the path from our present predicament." Accordingly, all the Devas, Shiva and Brahma, started praying to Shakti. They sang many hymns extolling her prowess, praising the great love she has for all her creations. They praised her as the force behind all creation, one who controls the fate of the universe. At last, an incorporeal voice shouted from the sky, "O Devas, you have nothing to worry. You have worshiped me as per the method described in the Vedas. I am very much pleased. There is a reason why I caused Vishnu's head to be cut off from his body. Listen to this story." Long ago, an Asura king named Hayagreeva performed a great penance directed to me on the banks of the river Saraswati. When I appeared before him, he asked for the boon of immortality. When I told him that it was impossible, he then asked for a boon that he may be killed only by a creature with the face of a horse. Emboldened by my boon, he has oppressed the world for a long time. Nobody is safe from his marauding forces. I have decided that Vishnu should slay him. Let Brahma fit the body of Hari (Vishnu) with that of a horse. You shall accomplish my will by this means." Acting on the instructions from Devi, Brahma instantly beheaded a horse with a sword and fitted Vishnu with its head. Vishnu was transformed by the grace of Devi into a wondrous creature, of immense strength, with the body of a man, and with the head of a head. He was known as Hayagreeva (horseheaded). At the end of a vicious battle, the Asura Hayagreeva was killed by Vishnu, in his form as Hayagreeva. By the Devi's grace, Vishnu regained his previous form at the end of this battle. Another story refers to that the avataram of Hayagreeva Bhagavan took place to restore the Vedas to Brahma. Lord Vishnu taught Brahma the Creation through His breath of Vedas. Brahma understood how various kalpams had begun due to Lord Vishnu's teachings. But Brahma became extremely proud and head-strong of his position as the creator and about his powers of wisdom.

Lord Vishnu wanted to remove the pride of Brahma. A couple of water droplets from the lotus seat of the Lord incarnated as two Asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha. They stole the Vedas from Brahma, as he yawned out the Vedas recklessly. Unable to carry on his work of creation without the Vedas, Brahma rushed to the Lord and pleaded to Lord Vishnu for mercy and saving the Vedas prostrating to the Lord he said: "veda: me paramam sakshi: veda: me paramam param veda: me paramam dharma, veda: me brahma sotthamam" "Vedas alone are my eyes; they are my wealth; They are my Lord. The whole world is surrounded by darkness due to the absence of Vedas. How am I to proceed on my creation without the Vedas ? Please arise from the Yoga nithrA and help me Lord! Please give me back my eyes which have been blinded by my own pride." Brahma prostrated to Lord Vishnu and begged the Lord to give him back his vision (Vedas) which had been blinded by his own pride. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Hayagreeva, appeared as the white horse faced, faultless crystal hued form, with strong luminous body and lustrous form with a lovely long nose, like the heaven surrounded by white bright stars that illumined the whole world. He rushed to Paathaala Loka fought with the asuras and killed them. Hayagreeva handed over the Vedas to Brahma. Brahma continued his work of creation Another episode refers to Sri Hayavadana was the form of the Lord Hayagrîva (Vishnu) that Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha worshipped, and the Lord Himself used to appear in the form of a white horse to please His devotee. It so happened that a goldsmith was trying to make a gold statue of Ganapati. To his surprise, the idol kept taking the shape of Lord Hayavadana. The goldsmith tried many times, and each time, the cast took the shape of Lord Hayavadana. The goldsmith got tired and frustrated, and started hitting the idol with a hammer. To his surprise, however hard he hit, no damage was happening to the statue. Then, one day the goldsmith had a dream. In the dream, he saw Sri Hayavadana Himself telling him to give the statue to the saint who would be approaching him the next day. Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha then went to the goldsmith, as directed by Sri Hayagrîva, and asked for the promised icon. The goldsmith prostrated at the feet of Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha

and offered the icon of Lord Hayavadana, which the saint then consecrated and used for worship. On another instance, when Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha was in Pandaripura serving Lord Vitthala, there was a corn field near the temple and the owner of the corn field used to see a white horse coming to his field and graze the corn. The white horse used to eat the dal (lentils) growing in the field, and used to get into the Mutt where Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha used to reside. The owner got angry, and approached Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha with a complaint that a horse belonging to the latter was coming to his field and eating his crop. Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha assured him that he did not own such a horse, and that in fact, there was no horse of any description in the Mutt. The complainant however was not satisfied, since he was positive seeing the horse enter the Mutt; he did a full search of its premises, but could not locate the horse he expected to see. Meanwhile, Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha, knowing that the horse was the Lord Hayavadana Himself, told the landowner that he was very lucky, and asked him to see the places in his field where the "horse" ate. To his great surprise, the latter saw golden corn at all the places where the Lord ate. He surrendered at the feet of Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha, and offered his land to the Mutt. Every day, Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha would offer a sweet dish called Hayagrîva (a preparation consisting of jaggery, almonds, ghee and kaDale (lentil) by keeping it in a tray and holding it on his head while seated. The Sri Hayavadana used to take a form of a white horse, and would put his feet at the shoulders of Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha, eat the sweet, play for some time like a horse, and disappear into the Hayavadana icon. It is said that Sri Vâdiraja Tîrtha would sing the 'Dashaavataara-stuti', set to an 'ashvaghati' (literally, a horse's trot) beat, to please the Lord, and the latter Himself would appear and dance when His devotee sang to Him As a very staunch devotee, Vadirajatirtha would recite the following sloka Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi MangaLam Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi Paavanam Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi Dhaivatham Na Hayagrivam Pranipathya Seedhathi!

“There is no auspiciousness greater than Hayagrivan. Nothing is more sacred than Sri Hayagrivan to destroy our accumulated sins. No other God is superior to Hayagrivan. No one grieves after performing saranagathi at the sacred feet of Hayagrivan”. There is yet another puranic narration on Hayagreevar. At Kanchi, Agasthya muni was on severe penance on Sriman Narayanan and the Lord appeared as Hayagreevar and was immensely pleased with his tapas. He blessed the muni with Devi mahaathmyam. This is described in Brahmanda puraanam Sri Hayagreeva agasthya samvaadham. Hayagriva is sometimes worshipped in a solitary pose of meditation, YogaHayagriva.

However, he is most commonly worshipped along with his consort Lakshmi and is known as Lakshmi-Hayagriva.

Hayagriva in this form is the presiding deity of Mysore's Parakala Mutt, a significant Srivaishnava monastic institution. Sri Ramanujacharya re-established the Visishtadvaita siddhaantham and commented on Brahma suthram in his Bhashyam. This excellent, unambiguous vyakhyaanam was completed by Yathiraajaa and fulfilled his "maanaseega guru" Yamaunaacharya's wish (manOradham). Ramanuja "officially" released the commentary at the grand gathering of all Sanskrit scholars and Vedic scholarsat Saraswathi peetam in Kashmir, in front of Saraswathi Devi. Saraswathi, immenslely satisfied at the excellent commentary and the truthful presentation of Brahma sUthram, she honoured the commentary by conferring an award calling it "SRI BHAASHYAM". Also, she was extremely happy with Yathiraajaa, she presented to him a Divya mangaLa vigraham of Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevan. Since the, Yathiraaja was performing Thiruvaaraadhanam (worship) to Sri Lakshmi Hayagreeva Vigraham daily.

Sri Vedanta Desikar meditated on the Lord at Oushathadri (Thiruvahindrapuram) and was blessed with all knowledge. He prays to the Lord in his Hayagriva Stotram , the first lyrical work of the great Acharya. This vigraham, through the Acharyas, came to Sri Vedanta Desikar. Afetr Swami Desikan's period, this was passed on to Sri Brahma tantra Swami and is now with Mysore Parakala Mutt Swami. Even today, the Thiruvaaraadhanam is being performed on this Divya MangaLa vigraham of Lord Sri Lakshmi Hayagreeva. Once Swami Desikan wished to stay at Thiruvaheendra puram and was proceeding from Kanchi. On the way he stayed at some remote place (that belonged to a grain merchant). There lot of grains were stored and piled in sacks. There Swami Desikan did not have anything to offer to his Sri Hayagreeva vigraham and hence, offered just water and he also went to sleep, without eating anything (just by drinking few drops of water that he had offered to

the Lord). Midnight, the merchant noticed a very big, beautiful white Horse which started eating those grains from a sack. The merchant, thinking that it belongs to Swami Desikan, immediately woke him up to tie the white horse. Swami Desikan has tears rolling down his cheeks, and prostrated to the Lord (who had come as the White Horse) and explained to the merchant and asked him to bring a pot of milk. The excited merchant and others brought milk which the Lord drank happily and disappeared. Next day morning as Swami Desikan, started off his journey to Thiruvaheendrapuram the merchant came running to inform that the whole sack, from which the white horse ate is full of Gold coins! Swami Desikan smiled and was overwhelmed with joy for His mercy and leela. That place is called is later as "pon vilaintha kalampudhoor", located near Kancheepuram. There is a Yoga Hayagriva vigraham at the Devanathaswami temple, in Chettipunnyam village, three km west of Singaperumalkoil, near Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu. This vigraham was moved from Tiruahindrapuram, near Cuddalore, to save it from alien invasion. The Hayagriva in the temple, it is believed, bestows upon the devotees, education, wealth and progress in all walks of life. Though the Vigraham is older, it was installed in this temple in 1848. Chettipunnyam village, three km west of Singaperumalkoil, near Chengalpattu. Hayagriva temples appear to be located mostly only in South India and that too on the east coast, similar to the Narasimhaswamy Temples. There is one temple in Guwahati, Assam at Manikoota Parvat, which seems to be worshipped as Narasimha, Hayagriva and as well as a Buddhist God by Buddhists. Hayagriva Upanishad tells us that Tibetan Buddhists worship Hayagriva as a wrathful manifestation of Avalokiteshwara. He has 108 forms, he cures skin diseases. Tibetan horse-dealers believe that he frightens away horse thieves by neighing loudly like a horse. Spiritually, the horse’s neigh drives away maya and reveals truth. Horses are very important to the culture of the Mongolians. Hayagriva, is known as Bato Kannon in Japan About the festival Hayagriva was born on the Sravana Poornima day. Hayagriva is a prominent deity amongst the Vaishavas and hence Hayagriva Jayanthi is an important festival for them.

The festival is also prominently observed by the student community. Popular belief is that praying to Lord Hayagriva, particularly on the Hayagriva Jayanthi day bestows all that is necessary for good education to the students. Other related benefits will be elevation on job front, improvement in public image and reputation etc., Legal disputes if any will be solved with much ease and natives would get their rightful fixed assets. Sri Hayagreeva Stothram:
Gyaanaanandamayam devam nirmalasphatikaakritimh Aadhaaram sarvavidyaanaam hayagriivamupaasmahe 1 Svatassiddham shuddhasphatika manibhuubhritpratibhatam Sudhaasadhriichiibhirdhutibhiravadaatatribhuvanamh Anantaistrayyantairanuvihita heshaahalahalam Hataasheshaavadyam hayavadanamiidiimahi mahah 2 Samaahaarassaamnaam pratipadamrichaam dhaama yajushaam Layah pratyuuhaanaam laharivitatirvedhajaladheh Kathaadarpakshubhyatkathakakulakolaahalabhavam Haratvantardhvaantam hayavadana heshaa halahalah 3 Praachii sandhyaa kaachidantarnishaayaah Pragyaadrishterajnjanashriirapuurvaa Vaktrii vedaanh bhaatu me vaajivaktraa Vaagiishaakhyaa vaasudevasya muurtih 4 Vishuddha vigyaanaghana svaruupam Vigyaana vishraanana baddhadiikshamh Dayaanidhim dehabhritaam sharanyam Devam hayagriivamaham prapadye 5 Apaurusheyairapi vaakprapajnchaih Adyaapi te bhuutimadrishtapaaraamh Stuvannaham mugdha iti tvayaiva Kaarunyato naatha kataakshaniiyah 6 Daakshinyaramyaa girishasya muurtih Devii sarojaasanadharmapatnii Vyaasaadayoapi vyapadeshyavaachah Sphuranti sarve tava shaktileshaih 7

Mandoabhavishyanniyatam virijncho Vaachaam nidhe vajnchita bhaagadheyah Daityaapaniitaanh dayayaiva bhuuyoapi Adhyaapayishyo nigamaanh na cheth tvaamh 8 Vitarkadolaam vyavadhuuya satve Brihaspatim vartayase yatastvamh Tenaiva deva tridasheshvaraanaamh Asprishta dolaayitamaadhiraajyamh 9 Agnou samiddhaarchishi saptatantoh Aatasthivaanh mantramayam shariiramh Akhanda saarairhavishaam pradaanaih Aapyaayanam vyomasadaam vidhatse 10 Yanmuulamiidrikh pratibhaati tatvam Yaa muulamaamnaaya mahaadrumaanaamh Tatvena jaananti vishuddha satvaah Tvaamaksharaamaksharamaatrikaam te 11 Avyaakritaadh vyaakrita vaanasi tvam Naamaani ruupaani cha yaani puurvamh Shamsanti teshaam charamaam pratishtaam Vaagiishvara tvaam tvadupagyavaachah 12 Mugdhendu nishyanda vilobhaniiyaam Muurtim tavaananda sudhaa prasuutimh Vipashchitashchetasi bhaavayante Velaamudaaraamiva dugdhasindhoh 13 Manogatam pashyati yah sadaa tvaam Maniishinaam maanasa raajahamsamh Svayam purobhaava vivaadabhaajah Kimkurvate tasya giro yathaarhamh 14 Api kshanaardham kalayanti ye tvaam Aaplaavayantam vishadairmayuukhaih Vaachaam pravaahairanivaaritaiste Mandaakiniim mandayitum kshamante 15 Svaaminh bhavaddhyaana sudhaabhishekaath Vahanti dhanyaah pulakaanubandhamh

Alakshite kvaapi niruudhamuulam Angeshvivaanandathumh ankurantamh 16 Svaaminh pratiichaa hridayena dhanyaah Tvaddhyana chandrodaya vardhamaanamh Amaantamaananda payodhimantah Payobhirakshnaam parivaahayanti 17 Svairaanubhaavaastvadadhiina bhaavaah Samriddhaviiryaastvadanugrahena Vipashchito naatha taranti maayaam Vaihaarikiim mohana pijnchhikaam te 18 Praan nirmitaanaam tapasaam vipaakaah Pratyagranishshreyasa sampado me Samedhishiiramstava paadapadme Samkalpa chintaamanayah pranaamaah 19 Vilupta muurdhanya lipikramaanaam Surendra chuudaapada laalitaanaamh Tvadamghriraajiiva rajah kanaanaam Bhuuyaanh prasaado mayi naatha bhuuyaath 20 Parisphurannuupurachitrabhaanu – Prakaasha nirdhuuta tamonushangaamh Padadvayiim te parichinmaheantah Prabodha raajiiva vibhaatasandhyaamh 21 Tvatkinkaraalamkaranochitaanaam Tvayaiva kalpaantara paalitaanaamh Majnjupranaadam maninuupuram te Majnjuushikaam vedagiraam pratiimah 22 Sanchintayaami pratibhaadashaasthaanh Sandhukshayantam samayapradiipaanh Vigyaana kalpadruma pallavaabham Vyaakhyaana mudraa madhuram karam te 23 Chitte karomi sphuritaakshamaalam Savyetaram naatha karam tvadiiyamh Gyaanaamritodajnchana lampataanaam Liilaaghatiiyantramivaashritaanaamh 24

Prabodha sindhorarunaih prakaashaih Pravaala sanghaatamivodvahantamh Vibhaavaye deva sapustakam te Vaamam karam dakshinamaashritaanaamh 25 Tamaamsi bhitvaa vishadairmayuukhaih Sampriinayantam vidushashchakoraanh Nishaamaye tvaam navapundariike Sharadghane chandramiva sphurantamh 26 Dishantu me deva sadaa tvadiiyaah Dayaatarangaanucharaah kataakshaah Shrotreshu pumsaamamritam ksharantiim Sarasvatiim samshrita kaamadhenumh 27 Visheshavitvaarishadeshu naatha Vidagdha goshthiisamaraanganeshu Jigiishato me kavitaarkikendraanh Jihvaagra simhaasanamabhyupeyaah 28 Tvaam chintayanstvanmayataam prapannah Tvaamudgrinanh shabdamayena dhaamnaa Svaaminh samaajeshu samedhishiiya Svachchhanda vaadaahava baddhashuurah 29 Naanaavidhaanaamagatih kalaanaam Na chaapi tiirtheshu kritaavataarah Dhruvam tavaanaathaparigrahaayaah Navam navam paatramaham dayaayaah 30 Akampaniiyaanyapaniiti bhedaih Alankrishiiranh hridayam madiiyamh Shankaakalankaa pagamojjvalaani Tatvaani samyajnchi tava prasaadaath 31 Vyaakhyaa mudraam karasarasijaih pustakam shankachakre Bibhradbhinnasphatikaruchire pundariike nishannah Amlaanashriiramritavishadairamshubhih plaavayanh maam Aavirbhuuyaadanagha mahimaa maanase vaagadhiishah 32 Vaagartha siddhihetoh Pathata hayagriivasamstutim bhaktyaa

Kavitaarkika kesarinaa Venkatanaathena virachitaametaamh 33 Kavitaarkikasimhaaya kalyaanagunashaaline Shriimate venkateshaaya vedaantagurave namah

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