They are unique in that, like a diamond well cut and polished, they display several facets in different directions - Devotion, Thathva Jnana, Musical Rhythm, extreme brevity etc. One can imagine the occasion - Acharya Madhva is meeting for the first time the Krishna Idol worshipped by Rukmini and made by Vishvakarma, the divine architect ; the sea shore, early in the morning with its cool breezes;, the composer who is a Sarvajna and known as Vedasaravith who knows the essence of the Vedas , and also a musician Par excellance - who sings the glories of the Lord incessantly in the form of Ramayana and other exploits ;, the subject matter of the songs being His beloved Lord, who is coming to stay in Udupi for the redemption of His devotees. My idea is to convey the main meanings in simple english, without too much discussion in depth, of the tenets brought out. I will try to follow with my limited understanding the Teeka of Sri Vishvapathi Tirtha an ascetic of Pejawara Matha in explaining the meanings. Since, then, there is a universal practice to recite at least one of these sthothras at the time of Naivedya not only to please the Lord, but also to guard against accidental poisoning.
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This collection is collectively counted as one of his 37 works, and is said to encapsulate the doctrine of Tattvavaada to a great deal of depth. Popular tradition has it that the Dwaadasha Stotras were composed at the time of the installation by him of the Sri Krishna icon at Udupi. Each word of Dwaadasha Stotras can be interpreted in several ways, in accordance with recognized rules of grammar; each verse is also evocative of many works by Srimad Acharya when studied with care and analyzed.
In expressing such thoughts in English or other colloquial language, the limitations of the language sought to be used may also be barriers, to overcome which needs one to have patience and perseverance.
An attempt at direct translation, if carried out with an open mind and some competence, usually yields the main gist of the text. There are texts where up to 8 different and valid meanings have been given, all within the rules of textual interpretation and grammar. One popular account is that once, when Srimad Anandateertha was meditating at what is now called the Malpe beach near Udupi , a ship in distress in the sea came to his attention; he waved his upper garment, causing the fearsome winds and the angry seas to subside, enabling the ship to reach the shore safely with its cargo and crew intact.
The mound contained the long-concealed icon of Sri Krishna which in the Dwapara Yuga had been worshipped by His own consort Rukmini devi. This icon was carried to Udupi and installed there by Sri Madhwacharya, and the Dvaadasha stotras were composed by him on this occasion.
Extracts from the Dwaadasha stotras, containing the highly condensed and encapsulated philosophy of Tattvavaada, are also recited on other occasions such as Hari-Katha discussions. With this background, we shall now look into explanations of each verse of DwAdasha Stotras in next pages.
The conviction that Lord Krishna is supreme, without blemish and can give us the greatest gift which we can aspire, will lead to our praying Him rather than any one else and will also make us disinterested in worldly boons — just as some one who has access to the emperor will not seek some minor favors from a lesser official.
Sri Lakshmi is always resting there sitting on His lap, with her hands round His waist. Such a waist is to be contemplated. It also has three lines Vali thrayaa and is always embraced by Ramaa Lakshmi dEvi. Such a stomach should be contemplated. Such a chest should be remembered. Their main task is to protect the world always. Such arms should always be remembered. Such a neck should always be contemplated.
It removes the sorrows of the worldly bonds and is very suitable for praise. Such a face should be remembered. Such a smile should be contemplated. His kind look is like the ocean of nectar which can remove all the sorrows and miseries caused by SamsAra.
It is much waited upon even by Brahma and others. Such eye brows should be contemplated. Such a paramAtma should always be remembered, especially when one is anticipating his death. This gives an indication that the last thoughts of a dying person, which can only be determined by his priorities in life, will have decisive effect on his future lives.
This has 9 verses. He Himself is an ocean of auspicious qualities. He is made of complete and flawless bliss and other qualities. May such Hari be pleased with us. He is like the fire in the oceans which dries up the waters of the pride of evil persons. When people get tired on the way, they take shelter in a house, where they get shade, drinking water, food and rest along with being made to feel comfortable. In a similar manner He is the shelter of good persons who need rest from the sufferings of Samsaara.
I offer my namskaara to such Narayana. He creates this world, protects it during its maintenance and destroys it in Universal dissolution Pralaya.
He is Himself unaffected by all this, though He is like a householder with this world. Alternatively, He lives in a house Vaikunta, which is without any change — vikaara. He has a wife Ramaa, who is His beloved. I offer my salutations to Him.
Hari is also looked always by her with such a half smile, not to confer boons, but because of her eternal and umatched love for Him. He is Himself of the essence of divine bliss and is full of auspicious qualities. I prostrate before Him. He has won the entire world, but has never been defeated. He is the creator of the entire world, but He Himself was not created by anyone.
I offer my prostrations to Him. He is full of auspicious qualities like jnAna, Ananda etc. He is the creator of Chaturmukha Brahma, who is the creator of the world.
He has destroyed all enemies — both internal and external to Him. He is the Lord of all the gods. He has destroyed all enemies. You have won over all evil persons. You are worshipped by Chaturmukha Brahma and other gods. You use the flag emblem of Garuda. I offer my prostrations to you. You are the most important desirable goal for us. You are complete with matchless attributes. You destroy the misery of your devotees.
In the brief length of 9 simple looking shlokas, Acharya Madhva has condensed the Dos and Donts of life in a heart touching and convincing manner. But the means themselves are powerless without His grace. The concept of Jaganmityatva unreality of the world is baseless. This and other propositions of tattvavAda have been covered in this stotra, leading to the conclusion most cherished of Srimadaachaarya that is, Sri Vishnu Sarvottamatva.
Therefore, do your prescribed duties always with reverence to the feet of the Lord. Accept the fruits there-of also with the same submission to His will. The Creator is the father as he brings the souls into being as embodied beings. He is also the mother as He maintains their existence in the world. He is the Gathi or final destination for the souls after their sojourn in the world.
He is the source of all knowledge as without Him, none of the Indriyas will exist including the mind. He is superior to the superior beings like Brahma, Rudra etc. He is also the greatest Purusha or entity ever.
Therefore, stop your thinking about worldly affairs and immerse your mind in contemplation of His lotus feet. For those who remember Him constantly and meditate upon Him, attainment of Mukti is assured. Therefore, why should anyone having sense not do it? He is the greatest amongst all chetanas. If the world is not in His control, why has it not attained eternal bliss? The Yukthi logical argument here is that any entity which is independent will never be miserable as it will always choose happiness.
As it is an universal experience that all souls are not eternally happy, they are dependent. The other logical statement is that the world needs a Chethana to control it and run it in an orderly fashion and He is the Supreme Being. Shruti proclaims that Hari controls the entire world of Chetana and Jada entities. This is an extension of the previous Yukti that the world is controlled by Hari only and not by any of the other entities offered as alternatives by other schools.
The logical statement and its implications are profound and need to be examined in depth. He has said that the souls are infinite in number and Hari is Supreme in comparison to all of them. This is well established by valid shruti texts. The third stotra out of the twelve stotras composed by Sri Anandateertha hereby comes to an end. Stotra — 4 Acharya Madhva continues his stotra describing the unique and unmatched qualities of the Supreme Being along with exhortation to the aspirant to start on the path of Sadhana and devotion without any delay.
His strength is beyond compare in quality and quantity. He is full of other infinite auspicious attributes. He is the greatest. He has no aging or death. He removes sorrow and misery completely from His devotees. He is the best amongst all those worthy of being prayed to. Such a God, who is also the Lord of Kamala may take care of us. A sathvika jeeva experiences bliss when he sleeps in the arms of the Prajna form of the Lord. God experiences His bliss always, even when awake. He is called Sukharoopi or having the form made of bliss itself, by the Vedas.
All His qualities of Sukha or strength etc are not different from each other, though it appears to be different to others. This is explained by the concept of Vishesha. The world was created by Him just by His will.